Greece can buy F-35 fighters, but not earlier than in five years
ATHENS, (BM) – US Ambassador to Greece Jeffrey Payat has signaled that the Balkan country could acquire fifth-generation F-35 stealth fighters. That’s what he said this Thursday, March 4th. According to him, Athens must build an appropriate infrastructure to serve the fighters.
- Greece officially asked to buy stealth F-35 fighters from the United States
- Greece and France at the negotiating table for new frigates
- Military means against Turkey is an acceptable option for the Greeks
Sources from Lockheed Martin, the company that makes the F-35, say the time it takes to build and develop such a structure is five years. This period means that despite Athens’ desire to buy the F-35 immediately, time is a factor that must be in line with the technical requirements of the aircraft.
The United States and Greece are in an advanced stage to acquire new frigates for the Greek navy. Pie commented on this deal as well. Washington may undertake to accept such an order, but so far, Athens has not sent a non-binding letter of request (LoR) to the US government.
“The ball is in Athens’ court,” the US ambassador concluded succinctly, confirming that a round of talks between the two countries would take place soon.
An oil conflict is forcing the rearmament of Greece
Greece has been active in the arms markets for the past 12 months. He bought Rafale fighters from France, signed a military cooperation agreement with India, and asked for fighters and frigates from the United States.
The reason for this “awakening” is the oil conflict with Turkey. Turkey and Greece have competing ambitions over gas reserves, and they disagree profoundly over who has rights to critical areas of the Eastern Mediterranean. They have laid claim to overlapping areas, arguing they belong to their respective continental shelves.
All this brought the Balkans closer to a possible new war after Athens and Ankara launched a series of military exercises in the region. Germany tried to play a peacemaker role between the Balkan countries, while France has directly decided to support Greece in its conflict with the Turks.
The mission ended with virtually no results. Then France came out on Greece’s side, sending its frigate and helicopter carrier to the Aegean Sea for joint maneuvers with the Greeks.
The last time these countries fought each other in 1974 in Cyprus. Turkey occupied the island after a military coup on it. After the discovery of a significant hydrocarbon reserve off the coast of Cyprus, sovereignty disputes continued.
Do Greeks need an F-35?
The Greek Air Force has three types of fighters – American F-16 and French Mirage and Rafal. Approximately 150 F-16s are in service in the Greek army, 84 of which upgraded to the Block 72 Viper version. Forty planes are French Mirages and 18 French Rafales.
If Athens acquires a US F-35, the country will achieve two critical victories – political disagreements, rhetoric, and attacks with Turkey and the Balkans as a leading military power. The presence of the F-35 will not appease the Turks, but it will raise the self-confidence and faith of the Greeks. A surprising military conflict will turn the tide – Turkey will have to worry more than the Greeks. Last but not least, Egypt strongly supports Athens and is ready to fight Turkey. Just imagine the Egyptian Su-35s along with the Greek F-35s against the Turkish F-16s.
At the same time, Greek propaganda is trying to irritate its neighbor. Politicians, journalists, and intellectuals have repeatedly said that Athens wants to buy the Turkish F-35. Yes, those planes overturned Erdogan’s military policy.
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