Greece inching closer to acquiring F-35s

Greece inching closer to acquiring F-35s

The United States is expected to send through a series of announcements a clear message that the qualitative advantage that Greece has acquired through the gradual upgrading of its military power must be maintained.

Kathimerini understands that the State Department has already approved the delivery of two C-130 aircraft to Greece, which will be provided from the surplus of American military material. The State Department is preparing to officially notify Congress to launch the relevant procedure, while it is also expected to announce an agreement with Greece to purchase two new C-130 transport aircraft from the US.

The two sides discussed in-depth about the possibility of an urgent transfer of the aircraft during meetings held in the context of the Strategic Dialogue in February in Athens, between Laura Cressey, director of the office of regional security and arms transfers under the State Department’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, Nikos Panagiotopoulos, Greek Minister of Defense, and Celeste Wallander, assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs.

Furthermore, after the elections in Turkey and before the elections in Greece, Congress will add the last of the four signatures required to activate the official process of acquiring the F-35 fighter jets.

The Chairman of the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), and the Chairman and ranking member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Michael McCaul (R-TX) and Gregory Meeks (D-NY), have all signed on the request. According to information, the Senate Committee’s ranking member, Jim Risch (R-ID), is also expected to sign soon.

The Greek government then expects the official response from the US government regarding the cost of the program, so that the Letter of Acceptance can then be concluded, following the initial Letter of Request sent. The aim is for Greece to start receiving the first 5th generation aircraft in 2028.

In another important development that is expected to be announced soon, Greece will receive an additional package of financial assistance in the form of a loan or loan guarantees from the US government for the purchase of American weapons systems.

This is part of the package approved by Congress for NATO allies who want to meet the needs that have arisen due to the armaments sent to Ukraine, and renew their military hardware.

This means that the US will reopen talks with Greece about sending Ukraine its Soviet-made S-300 missile systems currently located in Crete, in exchange for Patriot systems from the US.

The total amount approved by Congress is eight billion dollars, and Greece and Poland will reportedly receive a large portion of the funds. This is a procedure that has only been used once before, in the case of Iraq.

The procedure for granting the loan or loan guarantees requires for the submission of a proposal by the interested country through the Defense Cooperation Office of the local American embassy.

The request is then forwarded by the State Department, while the Defense and Security Cooperation Service of the Pentagon, in cooperation with the Department of the Treasury, negotiates the terms of the loan. A notification is made to Congress, since approval has already been granted for the total amount, a Foreign Military Sales (FMS) is created separately for each country and the funds are made available through the special Trust Fund for the specific sales.

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