Greece will purchase French-made Rafale fighter jets and other equipment for a total of €2 billion, according to government spokesman Stelios Petsas.
Delivery of the 18 jets will begin in mid-2021 and will be completed over two years.
Greece’s announcement 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.
The Rafale jets will include 12 aircraft currently in service with the French military and six new planes to be built by Dassault Aviation.
The first four Greek pilots of the Air Force will go to France at the beginning of the new year in order to be trained.
“This action will shift the balance of forces in the air,” Petsas said.
As part of the air force upgrade, Greece will also purchase Meteor air-to-air missiles compatible with the Rafale jets.
Earlier this week, the Trump administration sanctioned individuals linked to Turkey’s Presidency of Defense Industries for the purchase of the Russian-made S-400 missile defense system.
Minister of National Defense, Nikos Panagiotopoulos, spoke about the resumption of Greece’s armament program which has put the Armed Forces into a “new era.”
Referring to the budget, Panagiotopoulos spoke of an explosion of armament programs worth two billion euros or 375% in relation to the current budget.
“With a Turkey that operates threateningly against our sovereign rights, destabilizing the region, and is equipped, we do not take any risks,” said the Greek Defense Minister.