Greece pays out 1.5 bln for arms

Greece has signed three major weapons procurement contracts worth a stunning 1.5 billion euros over the past 10 days, the Defense Ministry said yesterday. Last Friday, ministry officials signed a 657.5-million-euro contract with Eurocopter – the helicopter division of European Aeronautic Defense and Space Co – to buy 20 NH 90 medium-sized helicopters for use for army tactical transport and special operations. The deal involves an option for the future purchase of another 14 aircraft. The NH 90s will be delivered between 2006 and 2009. On Thursday, Greece agreed to buy 12 Apache AH-64D attack helicopters from the US Boeing Corp., for a total of $675 million (592 million euros), to add to the 20 Apaches it already has. Initially, Athens had been planning to buy 24 attack helicopters. The Apaches will be delivered in 2007. And on August 22, ministry officials signed a 268-million-euro deal for two fast-attack missile craft to be built at the Elefsina shipyards under license from the UK’s Vosper Thornycroft. The shipyards are already building three such craft.

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