January 17 2021 can be marked as a historic day for the Greek Aerospace Industry (HAI) as it is when the the first test flight of an upgraded F-16 VIPER version took place.
This was part of the first phase of the F-16 aircraft upgrade program undertaken by the Hellenic Aviation Industry in collaboration with Lockheed Martin.
This program is of great importance for the Greek Air Force.
Upgrading F-16 fighters jets to the F-16V configuration will significantly increase the capabilities of the Greek Air Force at a much lower cost than purchasing new aircraft, thus enabling Greece to maintain its dominance over adversaries.
The Greek F-16V will be the most advanced version of F-16 fighter jets in all of Europe, significantly enhancing the deterrent power of the Greek Air Force.
The upgrade program includes the modernization of 84 F-16 fighters (54 Block 52+ and 30 Block 52+ Advanced) at the Block 72 Viper level.
However, this is not the only grandiose program undertaken by Greece.
After ten years of decline, the Hellenic Aerospace Industry (EAB) has started a recruitment program of about 700 new employees.
Nearly half a century after EAB was founded, conditions seem favorable for its restart on a solid, sustainable footing.
This is only as long as the mistakes and omissions of recent decades, combined with the ten-year economic crisis, have come to an end.
The company is in a period of not only recovery, but in a period of strengthening its business and entrepreneurial capabilities, aspiring to soon become a robust and profitable company.
EAB is offering more jobs, inflow of foreign exchange for its shareholder and the national economy, and of course, is contributing to the National Defense as the largest defense industry in the country.
In addition to the F-16 upgrade, EAB currently has three other major projects in terms of workload and technology.
First, the Mid-Life Upgrade (MLU: Mid-Life Upgrade) of naval cooperation aircraft P-3B Navy Orion.
Second, the factory maintenance of the PA C-130H/-B regular transport aircraft.
Third, the production of quorums for two projects in which EAB is a subcontractor of Lockheed Martin for the C-130J Super Hercules regular transport aircraft and the F-16 fighter jets.
The latest project undertaken by EAB is the construction of its own drones - made in Greece - in collaboration with Greek Universities.
Distinguished Greek students are leading the program and will assist EAB in the industrial production of Autonomous Multipurpose Aerial Vehicle, something that if achieved, will allow Greece to be a producer of high and innovative technological products.
All this multifaceted planning has already led to the recruitment of 170 technical staff, while the immediate recruitment of another 400 is planned.
Another 100 staff will be recruited, which will ensure the successful completion of the new curriculum for 2,875 students from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for the next 10 years.
The training program for the UAE amounts to a total of 175 million euros and is designed specifically for the Middle Eastern country as part of a mutual defense assistance clause signed between with Greece in November 2020.
It will be implemented by EAB, which upgrades its Training Center to a certified training provider with corresponding recognition from the UAE Ministry of Education.
The education of the first 80 students, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, has started and is being implemented in accordance with contractual obligations.
The UAE's envoys - candidate technicians - will be staying at the Armor Training Center in Avlona, where 88,349 square meters have been allocated for a decade to the UAE government.
This article first appeared in Greek in Mens House.