ATHENS, (BM) – 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, learned BulgarianMilitary.com.
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.
The Greek Air Force has already begun its transformation. Greece bought Rafale fighter jets from France during strained relations between Athens and Ankara. Meanwhile, Greek media reported that the powerful Mirage fighters, which had been defending Greek airspace for several years, were returning to the Greek sky.
According to information spread months ago by Greek media, the news about the French Mirages is confirmed by senior military sources, and the contract to support the Greek Mirage has already been approved by the National Audit Office and concerns the entire fleet, ie. 18 Mirage 2000 and 25 Mirage 2000-5. The above decision was long overdue, as it had been awaited since March with the funds involved.
The oil conflict between Turkey and Greece and their long-standing relationship
In 2020, tensions between the already long-disputed countries in the Balkans – Greece and Turkey – will escalate sharply again. The reason for this is oil fields located in specific eastern parts of the Mediterranean, which give rise to a territorial dispute between the two Balkan countries.
All this, as expected, not only led to an escalation of political speeches and attacks between Greece and Turkey, but brought the Balkans closer to a possible new war after Athens and Ankara launched a series of military exercises in the region. At the same time, Germany is trying to play the role of a peacemaker 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 the side of Greece, sending its frigate and helicopter carrier to the Aegean Sea for joint maneuvers with the Greeks.
Note that Turkey and Greece have been at enmity for centuries. It was during the fall of Byzantium, and during the Ottoman Empire, and continues to this day. 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.
Countries cannot share maritime economic zones. This is a Greek island located near the southern Turkish city of Antalya. Greece believes that part of this area belongs to the so-called Kastelorizo continental shelf. Turkey disputes this, claiming that the island is too small and too far from mainland Greece to make such a claim.
However, this raises new problems as it turns out that the disputed body of water separating Greece and Turkey is the apple of discord and the dispute between them. According to the Turks, the country’s continental shelf should and should be eroded from the mainland and that the territory south of the Greek island is only a few kilometers from the southern coast of Turkey. This is the logic they follow in Ankara and believe that it belongs to its exclusive zone
At the same time, Athens argues and believes that the borders of a country should be determined on the basis of the islands that surround it, and they are an integral part of defining the borders of the continental shelf. Greece makes these claims in its UN maritime law. All this gives the Greeks the exclusive right to the territory, no matter how close it is to the Turkish border. However, there is one very important fact that the Turks are using at the moment, namely that Ankara has not signed the UN law on the law of the sea, which allows it to interpret the situation differently.
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