France’s leading shipbuilding manufacturer, Naval Group, launched Greece’s first FDI frigate, HS Kimon, from the company’s shipyard in Lorient on 4 October 2023.

This is a milestone for the Frégate de Défense et d’Intervention (FDI) medium-sized frigate programme – of which the French Navy have ordered five units and the Hellenic Navy three.

GlobalData intelligence tells us that the Hellenic Navy currently operates 13 active frigates that were originally procured between 1981 and 2004 – almost two decades old.

The new Kimon class FDI frigate fleet can be deployed in a wide range of missions such as anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, anti-aircraft warfare, patrol, maritime security, control of exclusive economic zone (EEZ), asymmetric warfare, and special forces activities.

Strongly armed with MBDA’s Exocet MM40 B3C anti-surface missiles and Aster anti-air missiles, RAM systems, MU90 antisubmarine torpedoes, artillery, HS Kimon simultaneously embarks a helicopter and a capacity of aerial vehicle (UAV).

A hangar and flight deck located at the stern of the frigate will allow for the operation of a single unmanned rotorcraft system and/or NH-90 medium-class military helicopter equipped with Flash-based dipping sonar and MU90 lightweight anti-submarine torpedoes.

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“Greece has honoured Naval Group by choosing the FDI vessels to renew its combat fleet for the Hellenic Navy,” said Pierre Eric Pommellet, CEO of Naval Group.

“This launching is another important step in our strong co-operation with Greece, as it marks the symbolic birth of the HS Kimon frigate for her first contact with the sea.

“It is also a concrete illustration of Naval Group’s commitment to supporting a robust industrial co-operation with the Hellenic industry, growing stronger every day. Naval Group is proud to be moving forward together with all of its French and Greek partners, on this great FDI adventure.”

Greece originally contracted Naval Group for the procurement of three frigates, plus one optional, on 24th March 2022.

All three frigates are in production: the second unit, HS Nearchos, has just been transferred into a dry dock for keel-laying, while the first steel-cutting of the third HS Formion frigate occurred on 12th July 2023.

The next steps for HS Kimon are the first sea going scheduled for 2024, and the delivery in 2025.