With Greece’s agreement to acquire 18 French-made Rafale fighters now completed and only the final signatures needed from the defense ministers of the two countries, the Greek Defense Ministry is proceeding very fast to strengthen other sectors as well.
Nikos Panagiotopoulos remains at the head of the Ministry of Defense after the government’s cabinet reshuffle on January 4.
It is not only the repulse of Turkish attacks against Greece, but also the targeted and rapid actions to strengthen the Armed Forces with new weapons systems and human resources that are being prioritized.
Panagiotopoulos’ priority is the maintenance and upgrade of the existing military equipment, and of course the supply of new, modern equipment where required.
It is well known that the defense minister managed to keep up the competitiveness with a lot of effort and at a low cost, but the “wounds” left in the three bodies of the military during the ten years of financial crisis are undoubtedly large and still open.
The Chief of General Staff, General Konstantinos Floros, and the other Staff members have formed a complete plan with the needs of the military and have handed it over to the leadership of the ministry, which will give the “green light”.
The Air Force now acquires the powerful Rafale, upgrades to the F-16’s and spare parts for the Mirage 2000-5.
At the same time, it has shown interest in the best aircraft in the world, the F-35 .
The Navy will proceed with the purchase of new frigates, with the French and Americans being in the final stretch of the crucial race to change the main strike units of the Greek Fleet.
The French Minister of Defense is coming with a new improved proposal to Athens, with the political and military leadership immediately opening all the files and the final choice of the country that will create the new Greek frigate.
At the same time, the market for Romeo anti-submarine helicopters is “running”.
These are the best helicopters in the world in anti-submarine warfare, equipped with sonar and high-tech electronic devices, self-defense systems and great autonomy.
With the purchase of these helicopters, Greece acquires a clear lead in the “silent war” over the islands, with the total cost of Romeo reaching $295 million.
Greece’s agreement for the acquisition of 36 new German heavy-duty torpedoes for the state-of-the-art Type 214 submarines is also in progress, while the agreement also envisages modernization of some of the old SUT torpedoes that Greek submarines already have.
As for the Army, it will receive its significant share, since it is also the backbone of the Armed Forces.
It is pointed out that the Army already has state-of-the-art weapons systems, however, this does not mean that there is no need for new “smart” weapons of advanced technology or upgrading the old ones.
At the top of the agenda is the change of the national rifle and the national vehicle, with the G3 gradually withdrawing and the legendary Mercedes finally giving way to new ones.
Also, the acquisition of more than 1,000 M1117 armor vehicles is proceeding immediately.
The General Staff was ready to receive 80 M1117 from Germany that are already in full operational condition, however, the COVID-19 pandemic put a brake on their arrival to Greece.
The General Staff, however, is optimistic that the process will be unblocked and the first M1117s will arrive in Greece in this month, while a Greek mission will go to the US at the first opportunity where it will select more than 1,000 armor from the their stock.
At the same time, one of the weapon systems for which the General Staff of the Army has expressed intense interest is the Israeli anti-tank missiles Spike, with Greece being interested in the newer version, the Spike NLOS.
This is a multi-purpose weapon and not only anti-tank, which changes the balance due to its long range.
Quietly, with absolute professionalism and admirable composure, the Armed Forces have managed to not only dominate the Aegean and the eastern Mediterranean against the brazen and provocative Turks, but also to cause them a nervous breakdown.
The armament reinforcement of the three Branches of the military will make Greece even stronger in an area that literally smells of gunpowder and at the same time will force the Turks to… reconsider attacking.