US to spend $35 mln on Larissa base
In another sign of the growing importance that US-Greek relations have acquired, especially after the renewal and updating of the protocol of the Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement (MDCA), Washington plans, according to sources, to spend a total of $33.5 million on the construction of two hangars and support buildings at Larissa Air Base in Central Greece, which is now a fixed port of call for a number of US Air Force units in Europe (USAFE).
What’s more, according to the same sources, expansion of cooperation in the field of surplus military equipment is also planned, as well as new proposals for armament programs.
The Hellenic Armed Forces have already received Mark V vessels and Kiowa helicopters while the process is beginning for the delivery of M1117 armored security vehicles.
Furthermore, as part of the effort to detach from old Soviet-type equipment, the Hellenic Army is discussing the acquisition of 17 Assault Amphibious Vehicles in the context of phasing out its BMPs.
More importantly, within the next two weeks, the US is expected to submit a new proposal which will provide for the upgrade of the four MEKO frigates of the Hellenic Navy.
From the American perspective, MEKOs can remain in the service of the Hellenic Navy for years to come, as long as the necessary upgrades are made.
With regard to the supply of fifth-generation F-35 fighters, the same sources ruled out any possibility of transferring some of the older ones that were destined for the Turkish Air Force to Greece.
They noted that Greece would be able to acquire F-35s five years from any time the relevant process is activated. This means that a five-year transition period is needed during which time the Air Force will have secured the necessary infrastructure, the appropriate support and the pilots.