ThyssenKrupp Marine systems and Thales have formed a consortium for the comprehensive modernisation and mid-life upgrade of four MEKO 200 Hydra-class frigates from the Greece’s Hellenic Navy, announced on 24 January 2024, following a modernisation plan agreed by the Greek parliament in 2023. 

ThyssenKrupp will provide the design documents and communications systems for the Hydra ships. Thales will provide the combat system, based on the TACTICOS combat management system, and will provide a subcontract to Hagenuk Marinekommunikation, a subsidiary of Atlas Elektronik for this purpose. ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems will also subcontract ship platform modifications to a local Greek shipyard.

“With the joint contract for the modernization of the frigates, we are once again a strong partner for the Hellenic Navy,” said Oliver Burkhard, CEO of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems. “On the one hand, this further strengthens our order book and, on the other, underlines our role and strength as a maritime powerhouse that combines electronics, surface and underwater shipbuilding under one roof. A further milestone on our road to independence of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems.”

The first-in class HN Hydra, built by Blohm and Voss in Hamburg, was commissioned in 1992, the HN Spetses, and the HN Psara and HN Salamis both entered the Hellenic Navy in 1998, placing the age of the vessels in the group between 32 and 26 years. The later three vessels were constructed at the Hellenic Shipyards at Scaramanga. 

The frigates were designed with service life of 35 years, according to Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) ThyssenKrupp Marine systems, and would otherwise be considered to be towards the end of their service-life. The ‘mid-life upgrade’ ThyssenKrupp Marine systems are describing is the first the ships will have received, other than an upgrade to the DTIR fire control system in 2017 to allow the firing of ESSM surface to air missiles. 

The Hydra Class frigates were deployed in Operation Enduring Freedom between 2002 and 2003.  The 3,200 tonne ships are 117 metres (m) in length with a beam of 14.8m, with a full company of 173 crew and 16 flag staff.

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