The Hellenic Navy is edging closer to leasing two FREMM (frégate européenne multi-missions) class frigates from France, the Greek Deputy Defence Minister has announced.
Fotis Kouvelis on 20 April confirmed that an agreement had been reached on a five-year leasing deal that could see two FREMM ships handed over to the Hellenic Navy as early as August 2018.
This follows years of inactivity since the original statement of intent to acquire the FREMMs and months of negotiations between the French and Greek governments.
Kouvelis also hinted that a further two vessels of unknown design could be procured in the future. It is widely speculated that the FREMM deal is a stop-gap solution until the Hellenic Navy formally agrees on the procurement of new vessels of the Gowind- or Belh@rra-class after the FREMM leasing agreement ends in about 2023.
Payment is believed to be connected to European Central Bank bonds, although precise details have yet to emerge.
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