The Hellenic Aerospace Industry’s (EAB) participation in Lockheed Martin’s global co-production projects for F-16s and C-130s may be jeopardized if immediate measures are not taken to tackle problems compromising the Greek company’s capabilities.
More specifically, management problems and the lack of sufficiently specialized staff are conspiring to delay the delivery of parts needed so that HAI can proceed with the implementation of its orders.
For its part, the Development Ministry, headed by Adonis Georgiadis and which oversees ΕΑΒ, reckons the issue will be resolved by the end of the year, allowing for a return to normalcy.
The most urgent danger is that Lockheed Martin will stop considering ΕΑΒ a “sole source” and launch a tender for the parts of the global F-16 production manufactured in Greece, effectively leaving it out of the co-production chain (with countries such as Bahrain, Morocco, Taiwan, Slovakia and Bulgaria).
In addition to the blow to ΕΑΒ’s credibility, if Lockheed Martin does indeed take action in the face of these delays, the industry in Greece will lose significant value-added substructure.
Eighty percent of the projects currently under way at ΕΑΒ involve a Lockheed Martin project (F-16 and C-130-J co-productions, upgrades to P-3B naval cooperation aircraft, 84 F-16 upgrades to Vipers).
What’s more, if no immediate measures are taken, then the upgrade of the Hellenic Air Force’s 84 F-16s to next-generation F-16 Vipers may be in jeopardy within 2021.
Two more reasons cited for the delays were a series of employee strikes over reduced benefits, as well as the company’s inability to install a managing director.
In practice, what the company is asking the Greek state to do is expedite procedures to resolve pending problems by increasing the number of workers in Lockheed’s programs from 350 to more than 600.