‘Golden deal’: Greece gets the Egyptian Rafale fighter jets
ATHENS, (BM) – New information is coming about the twenty-year deal for Greece. A few days ago, the Pentapostagma reported to you on the preliminary agreement between France and Greece for the acquisition of Rafale fighters, learned BulgarianMilitary.com.
Contacts between the Greek and French governments regarding the acquisition of 18 Rafale fighter jets by the Greek Air Force are at an advanced stage. According to reliable sources, the contacts between the two sides are at a very advanced level, with those who know the background expressing the assessment that “within 2020 the agreement will have been officially announced”.
In fact, according to the same well-informed sources, the discussions are now taking place at the level of governments, with all that this may mean for the very big deal.
Based on what has been leaked so far, the agreement seems to be moving at two levels. The first provides for the donation of eight fighter jets from the French Air Force to the Greek and the second the purchase of ten brand new Rafale from Greece.
The eight planes that will be given as a gift are the ones that attempted months ago at the Al Watiya air base in Libya, where Turkish military forces were stationed, to assist Saraj. In addition to the eight Rafale fighters that will be given for free, our country will proceed with the purchase of ten more fighter aircraft.
The role of Egypt
As the French company is extremely difficult to proceed with the production of 30 aircraft immediately, what the two governments are considering is to reach an agreement with Egypt, so that instead of the 20 Rafale it has ordered, it will initially receive 10 and the other 10 to be given to Greece.
As is known, Egypt, after the recent order of 4 French frigates type Gowind 2500, proceeded to the order of 20 Rafale type fighters. Egypt now has 23 Rafale and one Gowind 2500 corvette in service, while three other Gowind 2500 are in different stages of testing before being officially delivered to the Egyptian Navy.
Starting in 2014, Egypt was one of the most important customers of the French war industry in the world, buying, among others, a FREMM frigate, four Gowind 2500 corvettes, two Mistral helicopters and 24 Rafale fighters. Egypt has been debating for many months about supplying an additional 12-24 Rafale.
Greek Navy received the sixth Roussen-class high-speed missile boat
The command of the Greek Navy has adopted the sixth high-speed missile boat P-78 “Ipopliarhos Caratanasis” of the “Ipopliarchos Roussen” class (also known as the “Super Vita” class) as we reported on August 6.
The ceremony took place on July 28 at the naval base in Scaramanga. The event was attended by the Minister of Defense of Greece Nikos Panayotopoulos.
As we reported, the first contract for the supply of the Greek Navy with three boats built on the basis of the improved Vita corvette project of the British company Vosper Thornycroft (now BAE Systems Maritime) was signed with Elefsis Shipyards in January 2000. Vosper Thornycroft provided material support and equipment.
The lead boat of the series, “Roussen” (R-67), was launched on November 12, 2002 and entered service on December 20, 2005. The last of the three boats was delivered to the Greek Navy in May 2006.
The first option for the additional supply of two boats, Grigoropoulos (P-70) and Ritsos (P-71), was exercised in August 2003. The ceremony of launching the Grigoropoulos was held in December 2005, but further funding for the program was carried out irregularly, which negatively affected the delivery schedule. The boat was transferred to the Greek Navy only in October 2010.
In September 2008, the Greek Navy and Elefsis Shipyards signed an agreement worth € 299 million for the delivery of the sixth and seventh Russen-class boats (P-78 and P-79). Due to financial problems faced by Elefsis Shipyards and a dispute with BAE Systems, the delivery program was practically frozen in 2011.
Cooperation resumed only in December 2014. The fifth boat in the series, Ritsos (P-71), was launched in October 2006 and transferred to the Greek Navy only in October 2015.
In 2016, after the bankruptcy of Elefsis Shipyards, management of the project was transferred to the command of the Greek Navy.
The sixth boat (P-78) “Ipopliarhos Karatansis” was launched in June 2018. Presumably, the last ship in the series, the P-79, will be launched next year. The name of the seventh boat has not yet been officially announced.
The total displacement of the Roussen-class missile boat is 668 tons, length – 61.9 m, width – 9.5 m. The ship is equipped with four diesel engines MTU 16V 595 TE 90 and has a maximum speed of 35 knots. Cruising range – 1800 miles at a speed of 12 knots, crew – 45 people.
Armament consists of one 76/62-mm AU Super Rapid and two 30-mm artillery mounts Oto Melara, SAM Mk.31 RAM with SAM RIM-116A Block 1, as well as two four-container launchers with anti-ship missiles MM-40 “Exoset” (Block .2 with TLU ITL-70A on the first four boats, Block 3 on the rest of the ships). The “Exoset” anti-ship missile system equipped with a radar seeker has a firing range of up to 70 km.
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