The integration of Rafale fighter jets into the Greek Air Force enters the final stretch, with the first six of 24 that Greece has ordered from Dassault to land at the 114th Battle Wing in Tanagra in mid-January.
The Rafale’s will specifically arrive on the 17th or 19th of the month, according to Proto Thema.
Of the six Rafale jets to arrive in January, two are two-seaters and four are single-seater aircrafts.
They have already been painted with Greek colours and are awaiting for the final procedures and evaluations to be completed in order to leave the facilities of the French construction company and come to Greece.
It should be noted that in the cockpit of the French fighters will be manned by the first eight Greek pilots who trained in the previous months at the Mérignac military base near Bordeaux.
The reception ceremony at the Tanagra air base will be attended by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis with the entire political and military leadership of the Ministry of National Defense.
The Prime Minister, moreover, is closely monitoring the implementation of the Rafale supply, having instructed the Minister of Defence Nikos Panagiotopoulos to strictly adhere to the timetables agreed with the French side.
According to Air Force circles, the new Rafale fighter jets will need suitable sheds and new electromechanical equipment for pilots to climb into the cockpit.
At the same time, the relevant procedures for the selection of the first seven Air Force engineers who will leave at the beginning of 2022 for the Dassault facilities in France in order to be trained on aircraft maintenance are being completed.
The specific ones will stay there for about six months, until the end of July next year, and then they will return to Greece, taking on the role of trainer for the next generation.
Among the selection criteria is a strong knowledge of English, or ideally the French language, as well as at least five years of service in fighter jets and five to seven years of work experience in Tanagra.
Note that the first six Rafale that will come to Greece will be used and given to Greece by the French Air Force.
In this context, the construction company has already completed a series of modifications in order for them to be compatible with the specifications that Greece had originally set.
Meanwhile, next week the first sheet metal cutting ceremony of the first Greek [email protected] frigates will take place at the company’s premises in Lorient.
The developments around the implementation of this program are also expected to be put under the microscope once again by the Ministers of Defence of Greece and France, Panagiotopoulos and Florence Parley respectively.
The meeting between the pair that will take place on the sidelines of the informal meeting of Defence Ministers and Foreign Affairs of the EU on January 11-12 in the city of Brest in Brittany, northwestern France.
This will be when France will hold the EU presidency.
The two ministers plan, immediately after the end of the meeting, to visit the shipyards of the Naval Group, since Lorient is about an hour and a half away from Brest.