ATHENS ($1=0,99 Euros) — Italy’s F-35 Final Assembly and Check Out [FACO] line at Cameri Air Base has begun offering F-35 factory support from other European countries as well.
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The start was made, Defense News reported, this month from a Norwegian aircraft, after the corresponding certification of the facility was preceded in June. This is an important development, as the only F-35 maintenance, repair, and upgrade center in Europe will operate in Cameri. It is recalled that FACO infrastructures also have the role of maintaining and sustaining the F-35, which is done in several supranational centers, not by country.
Cameri began as the final assembly line for Italian F-35s, the first of which was delivered in 2015. The facility is owned by the Italian government and operated by Leonardo in partnership with Lockheed Martin. It is one of two FACO lines operating the F-35 outside the US, the other being in Japan.
Wanting to get even more out of their investment, the Italians also want to assemble F-35s from other European countries there. So far they have managed to collect Dutch and will follow Swiss. Earlier this year, Cameri was visited by a delegation from Germany ready to order the F-35. It is considered almost certain, several Greek media say, that the Greek F-35s will be addressed to the same facility for factory maintenance requirements [with the most basic stages of course being done in-country].
As we reported in June 30, according to Skai.Gr, one of the leading media in Greece, Greece already prepared an official letter requesting the purchase of 40 F-35A stealth fighter jets, 20 of which have been identified and 20 are optional.
Greece has signed the official request to buy the F-35 and they have already handed it over to US authorities. The Greek Minister of Defense and high-ranking military personnel from the Greek army will travel to the United States in the coming days to speed up the search.
Greece made an official LoR offer for 24 aircraft, 18 + 6, for obsolete F-4E AUP aircraft in 2020. But at that time, the US Embassy in Greece said: “We are working to make it stronger every day, including the future purchase of the F-35 from Greece. The road to the acquisition of the F-35 is, of course, a multi-year process that will build on the success of the Greek F-16 Viper modernization program.”
Now Greece wants an F-35 for the second time. This proposal provides for the delivery of 20 + 20 F-35. The F-4E AUP aircraft are expected to take their place around 2028, and the aircraft will start decommissioning. The Greek Air Force plans to purchase 150 modern 4.5 and 5th generation fighters by 2030.
Recent purchases by the Greek Air Force
Greece signed the contract for 18 Rafale fighter jets from France on January 25, 2021. This number was later increased to 24 with the purchase of an additional 6. With additional orders, 40 Dassault Rafale fighter jets are planned to be delivered to the Greek Air Force by 2025. In addition to Generation 4.5 Rafale aircraft with AESA radar, Greece also delivers SCALP Cruise Missile, Exocet Anti-Ship Missile, and MICA air-to-air missile. air and METEOR RamJet air-to-air propulsion rocket.
Last year, Greece decided to upgrade 82 F-16 fighter jets to the Block 70 configuration. In this direction, the American company Lockheed Martin continues to work on the Greek F-16 Block 70 Modernization program. Greece, on the other hand, is upgrading its Block 50 fighter jets with parts of Block 52+ aircraft upgraded to the Block 70 configuration.
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