US ambassador concerned Greece would ditch F-16s

The former US ambassador to Greece, Daniel Speckhard expressed concern to the State Department in December 2009 that Greece could use a dispute over the capabilities of F-16 military jets to justify buying European-made Eurofighters next time it makes a procurement.

Speckhard raised the issue after two meetings with Defense Minister Evangelos Venizelos in a cable included in the documents made public by WikiLeaks. During the discussions, Venizelos raised concerns about the absence of a self-protection system for 60 F-16s bought for $2 billion in 2000 by then Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos.

The self-protection systems were to be installed by US firm Raytheon. Speckhard underlined that this was a private agreement between Greece and the company and had not been brokered by the US government. However, Venizelos asked for the ambassador?s help in resolving a dispute with Raytheon that led to the systems not being installed.