Greece’s Minister of National Defense Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos, expressed his belief that the country’s armed forces are being rearmed “within the framework of a large and organized plan.”
“Our program,” the minister underlined during an interview on ALPHA TV, “has the approval of the Prime Minister and is in progress. It is very ambitious and extends into the future. It covers the entire length and breadth of the Armed Forces and the three branches. It includes not only the acquisition of new systems, such as Rafale aircraft, but also the upgrading of existing systems, which is also very important.”
He added that Greece plans to purchase 40 fighter aircraft in total, including the 18 recently agreed Rafale from France. “Sooner or later the purchase of F-35s will be discussed. It is not of the present, but we will move to 5th generation aircraft and the main aircraft within NATO at such level is the F-35.”
It is recalled the deal for Greece to acquire 18 French-made Rafale fighter jets was signed on Monday.
“I also remind you that the program for the upgrading of Greek F-16s into Vipers is evolving this year. This is the most updated version of F-16s in the world. In a few days, the first Greek F-16 Viper will fly to America. In the next seven years, we will be developing between 8 to 12 F-16s into Vipers per year.”
Turkey, Panagiotopoulos said, “understands that Greece is being strengthened quickly and decisively. The acquisition of Rafale aircraft will change the balance of power in favour of the Greek side.”
Regarding the possibility of acquiring the Belharra French frigates, he said the decision “will be made in the first half of this year.”
The minister clarified that French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly did not bring a proposal for frigates during Monday’s visit to Greece, “but she assured us that this proposal is forthcoming.”
Proposals are also expected from Germany, Spain, the United States, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
“We want a package deal. In addition to the shipbuilding of the four ships – the new types of frigates – we want to guarantee that some of these will be built at Greek shipbuilding yards, with the involvement of local industry.”
As the building will take an average of six to seven years, the winning bidders “will provide an intermediate solution, with two used ships in a good state, possibly upgraded. We are waiting for specific proposals,” Panagiotopoulos said.
Συνέντευξη στο κεντρικό δελτίο ειδήσεων του #Alpha και τον Αντώνη Σρόιτερ
Posted by Nikos I. Panagiotopoulos on Tuesday, January 26, 2021