The French Navy frigate “Auvergne” conducted a series of exercises with the Hellenic Navy frigate “Salamis” off Crete. Helicopter cross-decks, a formation navigation sequence, and the establishment of tactical data links allowing the exchange of tactical information were carried out between the French and Greek frigates. The training is part of the strategic partnership recently signed between France and Greece. The ships then joined forces in anti-air warfare (AAW) exercises against two F-4 and two F-16 fighters of the Hellenic Air Force, two other F-16 fighters ensuring an air defense mission in profit of the maritime force.
This training follows numerous exercises carried out jointly in 2021 and 2020, including the one conducted a month earlier by Auvergne with the Greek frigate Themistokles. The French MoD said on December 14 that the French Navy frigate FREMM Auvergne is currently deployed in the Mediterranean after Having left Toulon on November 2. The vessel and its NH90 NFH Caïman helicopter are currently heading for the eastern Mediterranean where, as part of Operation Chammal to fight against Daesh, it will ensure the presence of French vessels in a strategic area where the security challenges for France, Europe, and the United States are numerous.
Auvergne (D654) is an Aquitaine-class frigate of the French Navy. The Aquitaine class was developed from the FREMM multipurpose frigate program. Original plans were for 17 FREMM to replace the nine D’Estienne d’Orves-class avisos and nine anti-submarine frigates of the Tourville and Georges Leagues classes. In November 2005 France announced a contract of €3.5 billion for development and the first eight hulls, with options for nine more costing €2.95 billion split over two tranches (totaling 17). The FREMM (“European multi-purpose frigate”; French: Frégate européenne multi-mission; Italian: Fregata Europea multi-missione) is a family of multi-purpose frigates designed by Fincantieri and Naval Group for the navies of Italy (10 frigates), France (8 frigates), and also for export.
The Greek frigate Salamis (F-455) is the fourth ship of the Greek Hydra frigate class. It is based on the Blohm + Voss MEKO 200 frigate class and was built by Hellenic Shipyards Co. at Skaramagas. The program was authorized in 1988 and partially paid for with FMS aid and previsioned for the commission of six vessels. The first ship was built in Germany and commissioned in 1992. It is the third ship of the Hellenic Navy to be named after Salamis Island and the famous Battle of Salamis, the first being the uncompleted dreadnought Salamis. The Greek-built warships were delayed due to financial problems on the part of the Hellenic Shipyards completed in the late 1990s which also led to limiting the total number of vessels to four mainly after the acquisition of eight Kortenaer-class frigates from the Netherlands in the late 1990s.