Greece Considers Freedom-class LCS Acquisition
This isn’t the first time Greece was offered the Freedom-class LCS (Littoral Combat Ship). The U.S. State Department approved a possible sale of four Multi-Mission Surface Combatants based on Freedom-class LCS in 2021. The cost of the sale was estimated at $6.9 billion.
The proposed configuration of MMSC for the Hellenic Navy consisted of eight RGM-84 Harpoon Anti-Ship Missiles, 57 mm or 76 mm naval gun, eight Mk41 Vertical Launch Systems, and Mk49 RAM or SeaRAM Short-Range Air Defence System.
Hellenic Navy additionally plans to have its MEKO-200HN frigates modernised; the plan was announced by The Greek Deputy Minister of Defence, Ioannis Kefalogiannis, in December 2023.
Freedom-class is the first LCS type, having the size of a corvette with the speed of a fast attack craft thanks to waterjet propulsion. The mission profile consists of mine countermeasures, patrol and protection against emerging asymmetric threats on the sea, such as armed boats.
The design of Freedom-class has been plagued with malfunctions mainly stemming from the propulsion system that has to propel a relatively large ship to speeds up to 47 knots. The main problem with the propulsion system stems from the gearbox that ensures both the diesel and gas turbines power the four waterjet pumps of the ship.
The problems have reached the point of the USN retiring the first ship, USS Freedom, in 2021 and making a request to decommission nine other LCS for FY2023 so that the budget can be allocated for new capabilities. The decommissioned ships are in the reserve fleet. This clearly indicates the level of technical difficulties with the ships.