Frigates MEKO: Danger of “wrought” in their modernization – What the Navy studies

In constant contacts for the modernisation of MEKOs is at the time when the risk of ‘wrong’ with the German-Dutch consortium TKMS-Thales Netherlands with ‘deadline’ is visible. The Department of National Defence’s armed management gave an ultimatum to this consortium, as the risk of a definitive ” wreck” in the negotiations on the modernisation of the four MEKO frigates seems to be closer than ever before. The Directorate-General for Defence Equipment and Investment, which negotiates with the consortium in close cooperation with the Navy, calls for clear responses to a number of demands from the Greek side. These concern both legal issues of guarantees and issues of ship configuration on which it seems that there are very serious ‘tacks’ on the way to the agreement. And despite the fact that negotiations with the consortium are extremely time-consuming, so far not only does it seem that the problems are being solved, but instead the chances of a definitive break appear to be increased. The Greek side seems to have made it clear that both the issue of guarantees and the requirements in the final configuration of ships relating to mechanical and electronic equipment are necessary conditions for the negotiations to be closed positively. While they only discuss a small excess in the final cost of modernisation originally set at EUR 600 million. DGEU and the Navy hope, despite the difficult climate in the negotiations, in a positive response on the part of the consortium in order to move forward the programme and the approximately two years of discussions will not prove to be wasted time. In any case, the decision to modernise the four MEKO frigates is taken as they are the newest large Surface Units available to the Fleet in its arsenal that can be upgraded to serve for at least fifteen years. Thus, in the event of a ‘ wreck’ in the negotiations with the TKMS-Thales Netherlands consortium, the Navy and DGEU will be obliged to initiate the procedure from the outset in search of other companies or associations of companies which will submit bids on the basis of the requirements already laid down and which concern both ship formation and the terms of the agreement. All the latest data relating to the MEKO frigates modernisation programme are expected to be placed on the table, as within the current week the final proposals for prioritisation of the equipment programs are to be presented by the General Staff to the Minister of National Defence. However, the framework has already been set with the modernisation of MEKO frigates at the top of the equipment design that the Navy has carved. However, the Naval Staff in the event of a final ” wreck” in the negotiations with the TKMS-Thales Netherlands consortium and given that the search for other companies may require additional time in its file and a number of alternative proposals depending always on the financial margin. Already Minister of National Defence Nikos Dendias hastened to bring to the fore both the issue of activation of the option for construction and 4th frigate Belharra as well as the possibility of exiting the “fridge” the corvette construction program for which in previous years continued negotiations had taken place mainly with the French Naval Group on Gowing and Italian Fincantieri on Doha. After all, the Naval Staff never hid its preference for new ships even if they are acquired over a longer period of time compared to dubious utility solutions used that do not meet the needs of the Fleet and may be a “problem rather than a solution” as described in characteristics. Moreover, the Navy places a lot on the Constellation frigates program and awaits the development of discussions with Americans. By Kostas Sarika / Source: onalert

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