With American assistance, the works for the expansion of the naval base will begin in the coming months which will turn Crete into an immersed aircraft carrier.
The green light was given, the funds were found and the whole effort is strengthened by the $53 million budget approved by the US Congress to expand American military activities in Greece.
It is the same text that Trump tried to unsuccessfully stop and provides for significant economic and military sanctions in Turkey.
The goal of the second Greek naval base is to make Crete an unsinkable aircraft carrier to increase the defense power of Greece – and as General General Konstantinos Floros often tells his staff – not only in the Aegean, but also in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Recent developments in Libya with the illegal Turkish-Libyan agreement on the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) leaves no room for Greece to not expand its naval and air presence in the region.
Thus, the plans for the creation of a second port in Crete include the construction of new berths for mooring submarines and frigates.
Construction of new fuel tanks, air defense systems, widening of the existing facilities as well as the construction of a settlement for the accommodation of officers and their families, that is, what a modern port station has.
But the projects do not stop only in the Navy.
They are expanding to the Air Force with the reinforcement (in means and manpower) of the 115th Battle Wing, where F-16s exist and operate.
The special weight of Crete
The Americans pay special attention to the Souda base.
It is no coincidence that outgoing US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also visited it, and it is also no coincidence that Pompeo chose to send photos from his visit to Souda on his farewell card.
It was the first thing he saw from above and was impressed when he arrived that summer night at the Mitsotakis’ family home in Chania.
Throughout the Oruç Reis crisis, two things alarmed the Turks – the invisible submarines that were mushrooming from everywhere and the visit of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to the 115th Battle Wing in Crete.
But they were even more annoyed when the Prime Minister was photographed in F-16 shelters, along with the pilots (wearing their anti-G uniforms), with their weapons systems “loaded” on the fighters, ready for action (if needed).
The photos of the Prime Minister with the F-16 fighter jets made the rounds of the Turkish media.
Cooperation with Saudi Arabia
As now, these days, Souda was again in the eyes of the Turks.
The reason is the information about joint air exercises between Greece and the Saudi Air Force, and the transfer of advanced Saudi F-15s to the 115th Combat Wing.
Turks fantasize, as several Turkish newspapers have written, that the Saudi F-15s will at some point be piloted by Greek pilots and intercepted by Turkish F-16s.
Of course, the Greek military leaderships are smiling at such scenarios, but it is a fact that a Greek-Saudi aeronautical exercise is underway in February with the participation of an F-15 in Souda.
Afterall, this is not the first time that Souda has hosted Arab planes participating in joint exercises.
The presence of the USA
This money approved by US Congress for the expansion of the American presence in Greece puts as a primary goal the expansion of their base in Souda.
The Americans have already transported the ferocious warship USS Hershel “Woody” Williams” to Souda for permanent mooring, while the ferocious helicopter carrier “USNS Carson City” had recently sailed.
In Crete, the Americans are also active in “Kripidoma 14” for the mooring of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and submarines.
It is the quay that every time a crew of “Democritus” visits, when a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier or submarine leaves it, examines radioactivity levels.
Negotiations are currently underway between Greece and the US for the renewal of the Greek-American agreement on the bases.
The Americans are not only interested in expanding their base in Souda, but have also proposed other areas for a military presence, such as the Stefanovikeio.
For example, they showed interest in the port and airport of Kavala, Litochoro and Karpathos. Negotiations continue.
And according to a top military source, everything is now done in combination with the Greek armaments program that is in progress.
But beyond the American expansion in Crete, the Greek Armed Forces are slowly (and quietly) beginning to create their own aircraft carrier and even unsinkable.
Navy ships will not only be stationed and refueled in Crete, but will also operate throughout the Eastern Mediterranean from this new naval base with the support of the Air Force and the watchful eye of air surveillance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft.