Greece Commissions The Seventh And Last Roussen-Class Fast Attack Missile Craft

The Hellenic Navy commissioned the seventh and final Super Vista-class (also known as the Roussen-class) Fast Attack Missile Craft (FACM) on 29 September, 2022, at the Amfiali Naval Base near Athens. The ship was named “Lieutenant Vlahakos” at the ceremony, which was attended by high-ranking officials, including Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Greek Defense Minister Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos, and Chief of the Hellenic National Defense General Staff Konstantinos Floros. Lieutenant Panagiotis Vlahakos was one of three Greek officers who lost their lives in a helicopter crash during the 1996 Imia crisis (known as “Kardak” in Turkish) between Turkey and Greece. The Hellenic Navy named the sixth ship in the series, which entered service in August 2020, after Christodoulos Karathanasis, who died in the same accident.

In his speech at the ceremony, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said, “Today, we are adding not only another modern ship to our fleet, but also an additional guarantee of security and stability in the Aegean and Mediterranean.” Mitsotakis emphasized that “the very name of the ship will proclaim that our homeland remains faithful to its tradition: that heroes give birth to new heroes.” According to Mitsotakis, history teaches us that “whoever violates borders will eventually be punished,” and that “in the twenty-first century, there is no room for imperial visions of other times,” and that differences are resolved peacefully and in accordance with international law. In the course of his speech, the Prime Minister stated that the Hellenic Navy will soon be strengthened by the addition of three new Belharra frigates, four upgraded MEKO frigates, and 11 S-70B Seahawk helicopters.

The missile boat HS Lieutenant Vlahakos (P-79) is the final ship in the Greek Navy’s Roussen-class construction program. The program, which initially called for the construction of three modern missile boats, was officially launched in January 2000 with the signing of a contract between Greece and Elefsis Shipyards. In 2003 and 2008, the Greek government ordered four more ships from Elefsis Shipyards, bringing the total number of ships under construction to seven. The first ship of the class, built under the design authority and main subcontractor of the Greek Elefsis Shipyards, was launched in 2002 and put into service in 2005 as part of BAE Systems’ long-term technology transfer program. Later, the class’s second and third ships entered service in the Hellenic Navy in 2006 and the fourth ship in 2010. However, financial issues that arose later in the shipyard and in Greece slowed the program to a halt. As a result of these factors, the fifth ship, which was launched in 2006, was able to enter service in 2015. In the face of increasing construction time and a financial crisis, the Greek Navy took over the production line and shipyard worker salaries to complete the construction of the class’s final two ships. Thus, the sixth ship of the class was delivered to the navy in 2020, and the seventh and final ship of the class in 2022.

The seventh Roussen-Class FACM named “LT VLAHAKOS” commisioned by the Hellenic Navy at Amfiali Naval Base / From the social media account of the Chief of the Hellenic National Defense General Staff Konstantinos Floros

The class are defined as fast attack missile craft (FACM) and are based on the Vita design employed by the navies of Oman and Qatar. According to BAE Systems, when deployed as a high-speed interception and offshore patrol vessel, its considerable weaponry fitted on a compact hull makes it an economical solution for surveillance, intelligence gathering, patrol, interdiction, and engagement of enemy forces. Advanced stealth technology is included in the Fast Attack Craft’s design to minimize infrared, radar, magnetic, and noise signatures, which lowers the likelihood of detection and increases operational effectiveness. Innovative platform design with uncluttered weather deck areas and efficient propulsion systems guarantee efficiency of operation at cruising speeds while also facilitating sea boat operations.

The seventh Roussen-Class FACM named “LT VLAHAKOS” commisioned by the Hellenic Navy at Amfiali Naval Base / From the Hellenic Ministry of National Defense

These ships have a full load displacement of 668 tons, a length of 62 meters, a width of 9.5 meters, a crew capacity of 45, and a speed of 35 knots. The main armament of the ships is the Exocet MM40 Block II/III anti-ship missile. An Otobreda 76mm naval gun is located in the bow, and two 30mm guns are located in the ship’s superstructure as secondary armaments. The primary air defense and anti-missile armament of the ship consists of an onboard Mk-31 launcher with 21 missiles. Two Rheinmetall MG3 7.62mm machine guns round out the armament. The ships are equipped with the Tacticos combat management system supplied by Thales, and the ship’s sensor suite includes the Thales MW08 3D G-band surveillance radar, the Thales Nederland Mirador electro-optical target tracker, an integrated Thales Nederland Scout mkII Low Probability of Interception (LPI) radar, and the Northrop Grumman (formerly Litton) Marine Bridgemaster-E navigation radar.