Greece’s plans to acquire the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter has seemingly taken a step forward following the visit of several US officials to Athens.
Representatives of the Department of Defense’s F-35 Programs Division of the US Department of Defense (DoD) paid a visit to the Greek General Directorate For Defence Investments And Armaments (GDDIA).
As announced by GDDIA: “the purpose of the visit was to inform the General Directorate about the aircraft (A/F) Joint Strike Fighter (F-35).”
US Ambassador to Greece, Geoffrey Pyatt, revealed in late January the planned visit of the American representatives.
This comes as the Hellenic Air Force (HAF) seeks to progress its plan to acquire the F-35A as part of upgrading its defence forces in the face of Turkish aggression.
“Let me start with the most important point, which is, Greece will be part of the F-35 programme,” Ambassador Pyatt said in January.
“I think that’s clearly understood by the government, by the Hellenic Air Force, but also by the US government.
“You’ve heard expressions to that effect not just from me but from senior officials of the State Department.
“We will have a team from the US Air Force, from the F-35 programme office, coming to Athens next month precisely to provide the Greek government with informational briefings on the requirements for moving forward with the F-35 programme,” he added.
In April 2019, then Minister of Defence Evangelos Apostolakis stated that Greece is considering the American-made fifth-generation fighter jet.
This was followed by a statement to the US House Armed Services Subcommittee by the head of the F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO), which listed Greece among other potential Foreign Military Sales (FMS) customers.
Greece is also undertaking a fleetwide upgrade of the Hellenic Air Force’s F-16s to the F-16V Viper (Block 70/72) variant.