Two almost identical photos, with a difference of 30 years, shows the special love Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has for the Greek Air Force and its personnel.
The first photo is from Nea Anchialos in the distant 1992, when Mitsotakis was young man from Sminia, where he served his mandatory military service.
The second photo, taken on Wednesday in Tanagra, was much closer to Athens, where he attended the arrival ceremony of the brand Rafale fighter jets.
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.
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.