Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced a complete plan to rejuvenate the Greek arms industry and enhance the Greek military in a speech at the Thessaloniki International Fair.Mitsotakis said “in recent years, the defense sector has experienced disinvestment after a period of high costs and ignored the armament programs. Well, it’s time to balance needs and opportunities. It is time to strengthen the Armed Forces as a legacy for the security of the country. But also as a supreme obligation to the Greeks, who will bear the cost. It is the price of our place on the map”.
The six defence programs are as following:
1. The Air Force immediately acquires a squadron of 18 Rafale fighter jets while replacing the older non-modernized Mirage-2000.
2. The Navy is launching a program for 4 new Multi-Role Frigates. At the same time, it modernizes and upgrades 4 MEKO-200HN Frigates, which it already has. The new frigates will also be accompanied by 4 MH-60R anti-submarine helicopters.
3. The arms of the three Branches of the Armed Forces will be fully enriched:
- New anti-tank weapons for the Army.
- New heavy-duty torpedoes for the Navy.
- New guided missiles for the Air Force.
4. A total of 15,000 men and women to be recruited into the Armed Forces over the next 5 years.
5. Activation of the Defense Industry. American funds are investing in the modernization of the Elefsina Shipyards while another investor will soon enter the Skaramangas shipyards, with no job losses. The tender process for the privatization of the Hellenic Vehicle Industries has been completed. The Hellenic Aerospace Industry will be re-organized and transformed into an aircraft maintenance center for the wider area.
6. The Armed Forces are enhancing their digital function and their protection from hybrid type cyberattacks.
The announcement for Greece to acquire 18 Rafale jets illustrates the strength of the partnership that has linked the Greek Air Force with French military industry for more than 45 years. It also demonstrates the enduring strategic relationship between Greece and France.
Greece ordered 40 Mirage F1 from Dassault Aviation in 1974, then 40 Mirage 2000 in 1985 and finally 15 Mirage 2000-5 in the year 2000; this latest contract also includes the modernization of 10 Mirage 2000 to the 2000-5 standard with a large contribution from Greek industry.
“I am delighted with this announcement, which reinforces the exceptional relationship we have had with Greece for nearly half a century, and I thank the Greek authorities for their confidence in us once again. Dassault Aviation is fully mobilized to meet the operational needs expressed by the Greek Air Force, and thus contribute to ensuring Greece’s sovereignty and the safety of the Greek people,” said Eric Trappier, Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation.