In the middle of the “storm” from the Turkish provocation in the Aegean, two important armament programs for “strengthening the Navy” were “locked” and in the next few days, according to the information of “NEON”, they are expected to pass the Parliament. The first concerns the supply from the United States of four new MI-60R (Romeo) anti-submarine warfare helicopters, and the second concerns the modernization of the four MEKO-type frigates, so that they can be fought for another 25 years.
The political and military leadership of the Ministry of Defense considers it imperative at this time that the two armaments programs – which were already high on the list of priorities for the strengthening of the Armed Forces – should “run” quickly and begin their implementation for two reasons. The first is that the Navy is called to play a leading role in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean region due to the escalation of Turkish provocation, developments in the energy field of the Cypriot and Greek EEZs and the conflict in Libya.
The Navy will have to defend Greek sovereign rights and declare its strong presence in allied missions, such as the one against the arms embargo in Libya. “It simply came to our notice then. It is extremely difficult, “said officials. The second reason is that no one knows what financial consequences the pandemic may have in the long run. And that’s why “mature” programs need to be activated immediately. Under these circumstances, the above two programs should start “yesterday”, as the situation in the PN is characterized by marginal means.
The purchase of the four multi-mission helicopters – NON-60R anti-submarine war with the nickname “Romeo” is considered an excellent opportunity. The Americans offer us the four helicopters at the price of three. This is because Greece has managed to get in the right place at the “tail” of an Indian agreement to buy a large number of helicopters. The cost of the supply is estimated at around 240m euros and the program will be implemented through an intergovernmental agreement between Greece and the US (G to G) and a Foreign Military Sales (FMS) process.
The acquisition of the four helicopters will significantly upgrade the operational capabilities of the Navy helicopter fleet, as part of the obsolete AB-212 will be replaced. “Romeo” has high-level technological systems and specializes in anti-submarine warfare, but they also have capabilities against surface targets. And of course, they will be able to successfully carry out secondary missions, such as search and rescue or vertical cargo transportation on PN ships.
In fact, the Americans stressed last year in view of the sale of helicopters in Greece that “MH-60R helicopters will strengthen the Navy’s ability to support NATO and remain interoperable with the United States” and that they will “improve Greece’s ability to deal with it.” current and future threats. ”
Four MEKO type frigates
The tender for the modernization of the four MEKO-type frigates (these are the “Hydra”, “Spetsai”, “Psara”, “Salamis”, ships aged 22-28 years) is expected to pass from the Parliament in the next few days at a cost of about the 150 million euros. The program aims to upgrade the operational capabilities of ships in specific areas. It is not about weapons, but about maintaining existing systems and replacing a number of electronic and platform systems with new modern technology.
With the upgrade, the ships, as PN executives have pointed out, will be combat-ready, increasing their operational life by at least 25 years. If their modernization begins this year, it will be completed in 2024. Therefore any delay only does harm to the availability of surface ships.
It is noted that the MEKO frigates are one of the main tools of the PN.
Meanwhile, the head of GEETHA, General Konstantinos Floros, informed his counterparts about the risk of an accident in the Aegean from the ongoing Turkish provocation, during his participation in a teleconference in the EU and NATO military committees yesterday and the day before yesterday. He expressed concern about the recent escalation of migration flows in Evros and the Aegean, as a result of Turkey’s instrumentalization of the phenomenon.