The US is reportedly seeking to expedite procedures of response to the Greek letter of request (LoR) with a letter of offer and acceptance (LoA) for the F-35 fighter program.
Despite the bureaucratic steps necessary for the procedures within the Pentagon, there appears to be a full understanding of the situation in Greece and the complications that may be entailed in the agreement to supply 20 F-35s with the option of 20 more.
These considerations are reportedly why it has been decided the response should reach Athens well before the 2023 elections, to allow time for the negotiations. The acceleration of the procedures is also linked to a very technical issue.
Any response to a “LoR for LoA” procedure is based on calculations that take into account current orders and deliveries, which have already increased since the invasion of Ukraine, especially with regard to the F-35.
The unusual by US standards in the Pentagon’s stance are seen to reflect the positive atmosphere that prevailed in the contacts held in July in the US, first by the Chief of the Hellenic National Defense General Staff Konstantinos Floros, then by Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos.
Those contacts with Pentagon officials and Lockheed Martin executives convinced the Americans the Greek side is determined to join the F-35 program, which is in the full development phase.
For a total of 40 F-35s, the cost is estimated at €3.5 billion, while the infrastructure to accommodate a fifth-generation aircraft, which currently does not exist in Greece, must also be in place.
The Hellenic Air Force has requested a study on the suitability of three air bases, at Souda, Andravida and at Araxos.
The survey is being conducted by teams from the US Air Force and Lockheed Martin. Clearly, the suggestion of three bases, located in western Greece and the western part of Crete, reflects the HAF’s choice to keep the F-35 out of the Aegean and the eastern mainland.