A team of nine US government officials and eight from leading American aerospace, defence and security firm Lockheed-Martin met in Athens a few weeks back with Greek authorities to discuss plans to upgrade Greece’s fleet of 85 F-16 fighter jets. This comes amid heightened tensions with Turkey, who continue to violate Greece’s airspace on a regular basis.
According to reports, Greece wants a payment plan of 400-450 million euros ($493.3-$554.96 million) for this year and another 200 million ($246.65) million in 2019 or 2020 to improve the F-16s to go against F-35’s that Turkey is acquiring.
In October, 2017, Alternate Defense Minister Dimitris Vitsas said Greece will pay $1.1 billion for an American upgrade of its F-16 fighter jets, not the $2.4 billion announced by US President Donald Trump.
Vitsas said several types of upgrade programs are available, “What’s important is that (the planes) will be upgraded to viper (category). We’ve calculated a certain number, a majority of the 123 aircraft (F-16s in the Greek arsenal).”
According to Lockheed Martin’s official website:
“Our partnership with Greece spans more than 70 years. Lockheed Martin has partnered with Greece on numerous military programs, including the F-16, C-130 and P-3, and remains committed to investing in Greece’s future.
Together with Greek industry, Lockheed Martin continues to deliver advanced, cost-effective solutions to ensure Greek national security. The combat-proven F-16 plays a vital role in safeguarding Greece’s national sovereignty and defending Greek national airspace from unauthorized intrusions. Enter the F-16 V the most advanced, most capable F-16 configuration available today.
Hellenic Air Force (HAF) F-16V upgrades will deliver a significant increase in capability for the HAF combat aircraft fleet at a fraction of the cost of procuring new aircraft, enabling the HAF to stay ahead of emerging threats. HAF F-16Vs will be the most advanced F-16s in Europe.
Hellenic Aerospace Industry (HAI) is currently performing work in Greece on the F-16, C-130J, LM-100J, and P-3B programs. Greek industry produces portions of the C-130J fuselage, F-16 fuselage and intake, and Lockheed Martin has partnered with HAI on the Hellenic Navy’s P-3B maritime patrol aircraft modernization and upgrade program. The F-16V upgrade for the HAF will be performed at HAI, bringing valuable jobs and investment to Greece.
Lockheed Martin highly values its enduring relationships with Greece and Greek industry and looks forward to strengthening existing partnerships and building new ones.”