Following the decision of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to purchase 18 twin-engine French Rafale fighter jets (six new and 12 slightly used), Greece has officially asked Washington for the immediate purchase of the fifth generation American F-35 fighter jet.
The official Letter of Request (LOR) letter from the Department of Defense was sent to the US Government on November 6, reported Proto Thema.
“The decision to enter (Greece) in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program will be based on a variety of factors such as the fighter delivery schedule, the repayment plan, the configuration of the aircraft and a possible combination to obtain a total of 18 to 24 jets (new or used by the US Air Force, if available),” is mentioned in the Letter of Expression of Interest of the Greek Ministry of National Defense dated November 6.
“Your immediate response will be appreciated,” reads the letter from Greece’s Ministry of National Defense, signed by the Director General of Armaments and Investments, Theodoros Lagios.
“Due to internal fiscal arrangements and other applicable rules within the EU budget and deficit framework, it is crucial that the first F-35s are delivered in 2021. For our part, we will do everything possible to implement this ambitious program,” the letter continued.
The Director General of Defense Equipment and Investments, invites American officials to visit Greece as soon as possible so that discussions on the 18 to 24 F-35 fighter jets can be discussed.
“We would like you to address this request with the highest possible sense of urgency, because we have a window of opportunity for the possible supply of F-35s in the very near future,” the Greek Ministry of National Defense also stressed.
Already, as reported in the official LOR for the purchase of 18-24 American F-35 fighter jets, the Greek government has received data on the availability and prices of fighter jets available in the United States for sale in Greece.
With the imminent acquisition of a squadron of 18-24 fifth-generation F-35 fighters, along with the purchase of 18 French Rafale fighter jets, the Greek government seeks to offset the balance of power with Turkey.
As the Russian S-400 anti-aircraft system procured by the Turks can create problems for the Greek Air Force, Athens is moving fast to acquire F-35 stealth aircrafts, in combination with the purchase of the Rafale’s.
The French Rafale fighter jets are expected to start being delivered to the Air Force from the beginning of 2021 at a rate of one every month so that by halfway through next year the first six Rafale’s would have arrived.