The six French-made Rafale fighter jets that arrived in Greece today was welcomed by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
In his speech, the prime minister said, among other things: “The gusts of wind are ready to guard the Greek skies.”
“Their acquisition is connected with the air force upgrade, which was characterised as urgent.
“It also responds to the current needs of our defence of our national territory and the Aegean, continuing the tradition of the Greek-French cooperation.
“This is a first-line geostrategic development, which makes our aviation one of the strongest in Europe and the Mediterranean.
“It seals the defence alliance between Greece and France, giving new breath to the perspective of autonomous European strategy.
“The new Rafale are ready to take off for a new, more peaceful tomorrow for the wider region.
“Soon, they will operate next to new French frigates, with which they share a common business philosophy.”
Mitsotakis went on to say: “The belief of this government was and is that economic and social development must be framed by the shielding of security and the elevation of national dignity.
“For Greece, any strengthening of its defence is a projection of peace.”
To add, Mitsotakis said: “To acquire the Rafale, we do not need anyone’s permission.
“I will not tire repeating that, with the same determination in how we close the door to every threat, we keep dialogue open.
The first six Rafale fighter jets that Greece purchased landed at Tanagra Airbase after departing at 09:25 local time (Greek time 10:25) from Istria in France to the 114th Battle Wing.
After a two-hour direct flight, the twin-engine French fighter jets landed at the base at approximately 12:30 p.m.
Before landing at Tanagra, where they will join the 332 Squadron, the six Rafale’s flew over the Sacred Rock of the Acropolis, which they passed at 12:22.
Four of the six Rafale are single-seater and the other two are two-seater.
In the two-seater Rafale, co-pilots in the cockpit are French trainers from the Dassault manufacturer.
After entering the Athens Flight Information Region, the Rafale’s were accompanied by a pair of Mirage 2000-5 fighter jets.
In Tanagra, the new Rafales were welcomed by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Defence Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos, the Chief of the General Staff of National Defense Konstantinos Floros, the Chief of the General Staff of the Hellenic Air Force Rear Admiral George Blioumis and French Ambassador Patrick Maisonnave.
It is recalled that the contract for the purchase of 18 Rafale fighter jets (of which six are new and 12 are used) was signed on January 25, 2021.
The acquisition of the first 18 French Rafale will cost Greek taxpayers 2.32 billion euros, along with the weapons they carry.
For the other six Rafale, another 1.07 billion euros are expected to be disbursed.
The total cost for the 24 Rafale (of which 12 are new and 12 are used), with their weapons and materials for their three-year maintenance, 3.3 billion euros.