Ministry responds to controversy over F-16 upgrade

Ministry responds to controversy over F-16 upgrade

The Greek Defense Ministry on Thursday responded to a political controversy that erupted after Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Tuesday announced a deal with the United States to upgrade his country’s fleet of F-16 fighter jets.

According to the ministry, the deal referred to by Tsipras during his meeting with US President Donald Trump at the White House pertains to an upgrade of part rather than the entirety of Greece’s F-16 fleet. The work will be carried out at the Hellenic Aerospace Industry and will cost no more than $1.1 billion, instead of the $2.4 billion a full upgrade has been calculated to run to, the ministry said. It added, however, that the final cost of the project will be determined in negotiations with the American authorities.

The announcement of the deal promoted opposition New Democracy on Wednesday to demand additional details from the government and saw coalition partner and Defense Minister Panos Kammenos come under criticism for profligacy. The deal has also reportedly raised eyebrows in Brussels, as creditors were not consulted on the funding of the project.

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