In what is seen as a response to an ongoing annual exercise by the Hellenic Navy in the Aegean, Turkish jets violated Greek national airspace 99 times on Tuesday, according to the Hellenic National Defense General Staff (GEETHA).
Forty-six of those violations were conducted by fighter jets and the other 53 by CN-235 surveillance aircraft.
With regard to the violations by the fighter jets, GEETHA said that a pair of Turkish F-16s conducted overflights over Kinaros in the eastern Aegean at 27,000 feet early Tuesday morning.
Later in the day another two F-16s flew over the eastern Aegean islets of Farmakonisi, Arkoi and Lipsoi.
All the Turkish violations took place at high altitudes – between 22,000 and 27,000 feet – but they were over inhabited areas, which, authorities say, has become increasingly more common.
Meanwhile, the US Pentagon has reiterated Greece’s potential interest in purchasing F-35 fighter jets. The Greek Defense Ministry had initially submitted an inquiry with a so-called letter of price and availability in February 2017.
Speaking to the US Congress on Monday, Vice Admiral Mathias Winter, the head of the Pentagon’s F-35 office, said that the “future potential foreign military sales customers include Singapore, Greece, Romania, Spain and Poland.”
This, however, does not necessarily mean that Greece will indeed purchase the jets, given its fiscal constraints. Moreover, the Hellenic Air Force will have to make substantial adjustments to be able to maintain and support such aircraft.
Given the current situation, even if Greece were to proceed with a bid to purchase F-35s, it would concern 15 to 20 jets and this would take place over a period of 10 years.