France May Lose another Lucrative Shipbuilding Deal to the US

The US State Department has given the go-ahead on Friday to two potential weapons deals with Greece to provide extensive upgrades to four older frigates and also supply them with four new warships as the Hellenic Navy navigates a complex effort to upgrade its surface fleet.

The approval of the two deals, which will still have to be okayed by Congress before the sale can begin, was announced by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA).

DSCA said that the proposed sale will support the US foreign policy and national security objectives by improving the security of a NATO ally and important partner for political stability and economic progress in Europe

The first deal totaling $6.9 billion will see the US selling Athens four Multi-Mission Surface Combatant (MMSC) ships along with a range of associated equipment and weaponry such ad radars, sonar arrays, combat management systems, rockets, and missiles.

On top of the Freedom-class littoral combat ships, in a deal worth $2.5 billion the US would supply equipment and expertise for repairing, updating, and enhancing the four Hydra-class frigates (or MEKO Class Frigates) the Hellenic Navy owns.

The massive deals with Greece the US has approved are directly challenging a similar preliminary agreement with France which announced a similar agreement with Greece in September.

French military spokesman Herve Grandjean said no formal contract was yet signed between the two sides although some commitments had been made, adding the deal to provide Greece with up to four new frigates for $3.4 billion (€3 billion) would be finalized after a period of three months.

In the light of the fact that the US already invoked France’s ire earlier this year after unveiling a nuclear submarine deal with Australia despite a preexisting arrangement with Paris, Washington’s move could be interpreted as a major slight although it’s unclear what the US proposal will mean for France’s deal.

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