The program began in July 2004 with frigate Kountouriotis; the sixth and last modernized frigate was delivered in 2009. The modernization emphasized on the electronic equipment and combat management system and left unchanged the weapon systems of the ships except for the addition of two Mk137 decoy launchers soft-kill weapon systems part of the BAE Systems SRBOC on Batch I frigates. That time, Batch I frigates were equipped with two units, similarly with frigates of the Batch III (Batch II frigates had already four launchers). Unfortunately, the significant upgrade of the Mk29 launcher to Mk29 Mod 4 in order to allow the launcher to launch the RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) was cancelled. The whole modernization program aimed to extend the frigates' service lives by 20 years. In summary, the modernization of the electronic equipment included the following: -Addition of MIRADOR optronic observation and weapon control system (see extensive description of the sensors ' capabilities in next paragraphs) -Addition of SCOUT Mk2 LPI radar, a sensor that equips also the ships of the Batch III, while the old ZW06 surface search and navigation radar was removed - Upgrade of WM25 combined surface search and fire control radar -Upgrade of STIR 1.8 tracking and illumination radar -Upgrade of LW08 long range air-search radar -Installation of one of the most advanced systems in the world in this category, the EDO CS-3701 Electronic Support Measures (ESM); the old SPHINX is removed -The Sewaco MkII combat management system is replaced with the advanced and very successful system in this category, the Thales TACTICOS (Sewaco FD). - Installation of an ALEX system by Lockheed Martin Sippican's Passive Decoy Systems Group that links the decoy launching system to the ship's ESM, wind and navigation sensors. -Replacement of the Integrated Communications System 3 (ICS3) by a new scheme of EADS Hagenuk -Integration of the terminal data Link 11 from Rockwell Collins in the combat management system -Installation of INMARSAT FLEET 77 on three ships -Installation of two Marine Inertial Systems (INS) Mk39 Mod3A Ring Laser Gyro that replaced the gyro compasses Mk29 and Mk23 -Addition of GPS receiver - Installation of V/UHF SATURN featuring Electronic Communications anti-Measure (ECCMMany subsystems of the rest of the equipment such as parts of the propulsion system were replaced with new or other systems were upgraded to increase performance and capabilities. As it is already mentioned , for a more extensive description of the sensors' capabilities and details on the upgrades read these paragraphs that describe the electronic equipment of the ships.
Artist impression of a Belharra frigate in a coalition. Naval Group image.Head Of Greek Defense Procurement Agency Visited Naval GroupXavier Vavasseur 24 Jun 2019The General Director of the GDDIA (the Hellenic defense procurement agency) Vice Admiral (ret.) Kyriakos Kyriakidis, visited Naval Group's headquarters on the sidelines of the Paris Air Show. The meeting took place just weeks after GDDIA submitted an LOI to France in connection with the procurement of two Belharra frigates from Naval Group by the Hellenic Navy.The visit of the head of the General Directorate For Defense Investments And Armaments (GDDIA) was announced on the procurement agency’s website.According to the statement:“The General Director of GDDIA Vice Admiral (ret.) Kyriakos Kyriakidis, visited the International Show «Paris Air Show 2019», which takes place in Paris from 17 to 23 June 2019.”[…]“Furthermore, the exhibition offered the opportunity for a visit at Group Naval company headquarters in Paris.”Greek Media reported earlier this month that the GDDIA submitted a LOI to France in connection with the procurement of two Belharra frigates from Naval Group for the Hellenic Navy. You may read our detailed story about this development here. This topic was highly likely discussed this week, between all parties involved.It has been a known fact since about 2008, that the Hellenic Navy is looking to procure new surface combatant, primarily for Anti Air Warfare (AAW) missions.