The United States is offering Greece a deal to co-produce three frigates out of four American-made naval vessels should the country decide to buy the four, Defense News reported on Tuesday, citing the US ambassador to Greece.
“We think the United States is going to have a very competitive product to offer there with our frigates and the unique American proposal to co-produce three of those frigates here in Greece,” Defense News quoted Geoffrey Pyatt, the US Ambassador in Athens, as saying.
In the event Greece accepts the offer, three frigates will be co-produced by American-owned Onex Shipyards, based on the Greek island of Syros.
“We had a U.S. Navy International Programs Office team here in Athens just a few weeks ago, which had a very successful round of discussions with Onex, visiting the shipyards [and] seeing the capabilities there,” Pyatt was quoted as saying.
“They came away absolutely confident that if the Greek state goes with the American frigate offer, that the United States and the U.S. Navy IPO will be positioned to implement a co-production approach to that strategically important project — a project which is important to Greece’s long term security, but also advances America’s interest in helping Greece to continue to be a strong and effective NATO partner in a geopolitically complicated neighborhood.”
It is unclear which frigate Pyatt was talking about, according to the Defense News report.
The news of the naval cooperation efforts came after heightened tensions between Turkey and Greece over disputed waters in the Mediterranean.
The two NATO allies came to the brink of conflict in September after Ankara sent a survey vessel, escorted by warships, to contested waters purportedly rich in hydrocarbon resources. The ensuing escalation saw both sides dispatching naval vessels to the region.
Two sides started to engage in talks brokered by NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg; however, Turkey’s redeployment of the Oruc Reis survey vessel for new energy exploration around the Greek island of Kastellorizo has reignited tensions.
Ankara’s relations with NATO allies soured after the purchase of a Russian-made S-400 air defense system. NATO officials repeatedly condemned the purchase, saying the missile system poses a risk to allied aircraft.