Greek Rafale is getting closer – the agreement is expected before Christmas
ATHENS, (BM) – According to the Greek media, the contract for 18 Dassault Rafale fighters’ supply is to be signed before the upcoming holidays, learned BulgarianMilitary.com citing Defence24. First, the agreement is to be approved by the Greek parliament, and later it will be signed by representatives of the defense ministries of Greece and France.
The next step in purchasing French Dassault Rafale fighters is the Greek parliament’s approval of the contract. The approval is likely to happen at the meeting on December 17, 2020. Once approved, the only thing left to do is sign a contract with French representatives. According to the media, the visit of French Defense Minister Florence Parly, planned for 19-20 December, is the occasion.
Under the contract, Greece plans to acquire 18 Dassault Rafale fighters. Six of them are to be new in the Rafale C F3-R version, i.e., single-seat machines of the latest available variant. Another 12 donated would be aircraft currently used by the French Air Force and probably belonging to a slightly older standard [F1 or F2]. Under the contract, Greece also plans to acquire weapons, including Meteor, SCALP, and Exocet missiles. The total value of the contract is 2.5 billion euros.
As part of the agreement, the French will also have to overhaul, and repair existing Mirage-2000 MK-2 aircraft and renew all types of systems available to the armed forces – including electronic systems and weapons.
The new planes would create an entirely new, additional squadron. Their purchase is to give the Greeks an advantage over the Turkish aviation, whose best planes today are the F-16C / D. Also, they will strengthen the successfully operated Mirage 2000 fleet [Greece purchased 40 in 1985, Greece bought 15 in 2000; currently 17 Mirage 2000EG and 25 Mirage 2000-5 Mk.2 are in service], which are presently undergoing unification and modernization to the Mirage 2000 standard -5 Mk.2.
Greece officially asked to buy stealth F-35 fighters from the United States
Greece has officially sent a request to the United States for the acquisition of 18-24 stealth multi-role fighter-bomber F-35 from 2021, reports the newspaper Proto Thema, citing information from the Greek Ministry of Defense. According to media reports, the Greek government has officially asked Washington to buy the fighters immediately. The Greek Ministry of National Defense sent a request to the US administration on November 6, TASS reported.
“The decision to include [Greece] in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program will be based on many factors, such as the fighter program, the payout plan, the aircraft configuration and the possible combination for a total of 18-24 aircraft [new or used by the US Air Force, if any]”, said in a letter from the Greek department.
Greece wants an “immediate answer” on this issue. The document was signed by Director General of Armaments and Investment Theodoros Lagios. “Due to internal financial arrangements and other applicable rules within the budget and EU deficit requirements, it is very important that the first F-35s are delivered in 2021. For our part, we will do our best to implement this ambitious program” the request states.
Earlier, the US State Department notified Congress of its intention to authorize the sale of F-35 fighters, MQ-9B reconnaissance drones and other weapons to the United Arab Emirates worth more than $ 23 billion. We wrote about Greece’s desire to acquire fifth-generation American fighter jets back in September this year, citing sources in the Greek media Pentapostagma.
Then, the Pentapostagma website wrote that if Greece wants its Armed Forces to be combative, competitive and able to face the constant threat from the East, then they should proceed to the necessary reinforcement with new weapons systems and modernization of the old ones. “A large American website reveals that Greece is “preparing”, among other things, for the acquisition of a squadron of 24 5th generation F-35A fighter jets, most likely from 2024″ the article said.
“Thus, the “gap” of Greece with other countries will be closed definitively and irrevocably, giving the state’s Air Force an indisputable quality superiority, after the inaction due to the economic crisis in the previous years, putting the country in the era of state-of-the-art aircraft” the article’s author continues.
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