Naval Group Launches Greece’s First Belharra Frigate

Naval Group has launched Greece’s first Belharra-class medium-sized frigate in Lorient, France.

The development is part of a September 2021 contract seeking three warships to bolster the Hellenic Navy’s capabilities in supporting national security and the EU.

Once completed, the new vessels will be integrated into the navy’s active fleet consisting of 13 frigates made between the 1980s and early 2000s.

The contract covers corresponding frigate equipment and an option for an additional Belharra unit.

The HS Kimon

Called HS Kimon, the frigate is a 4,500-ton (4.5 million kilograms) ship with a length of 122 meters (400 feet), a width of 18 meters (59 feet), and a beam measuring 17.7 meters (58 feet).

It will be powered by combined diesel and diesel engine for a maximum speed of 27 knots (50 kilometers/31 miles per hour).

Launching of Greece's HS Kimon in France
Launching of Greece’s HS Kimon in France. Photo: Naval Group

Planned weapons include Aster surface-to-air missiles, Exocet MM40 B3C naval anti-ship missiles, MU 90 lightweight anti-submarine torpedoes, CANTO countermeasures, and 76-millimeter guns.

HS Kimon’s aviation deck can accommodate rotorcrafts similar to a Guépard Marine H160M or MH-60R Seahawk helicopters, as well as SDAM or Schiebel Camcopter S-100 aerial drones.

Defence and Intervention Frigate

Belharra-class frigates are the export version of the French government’s upcoming Defence and Intervention Frigate (FDI).

The French contract ordered five ships and was signed four years prior to the Hellenic frigates agreement.

Naval Group partnered with Thales to produce onboard solutions for the FDIs, including sonars, radars, electronic warfare technology, and naval communication systems.

Construction of the first FDI frigate, Amiral Ronarc’h, commenced in 2019. Its keel was laid in 2021. The ship was then launched in November 2022.

The French Navy is scheduled to receive Amiral Ronarc’h by 2024.

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