Aircraft deal to be sealed before new year

Aircraft deal to be sealed before new year

Greece’s purchase of Rafale fighter jets, whose acquisition is expected to be approved by the Greek Parliament next week, was discussed on Tuesday by Greek Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos and his French counterpart Florence Parly.

The French minister, who also discussed wider bilateral relations with Panagiotopoulos, will visit Athens shortly after Parliament’s approval of the purchase, most likely on December 17, in order to sign the supply contract. 

Her visit is scheduled to take place before Christmas, on December 19-20, a plan that is, of course, subject to possible changes due to the pandemic.

In any case, it is the expressed will of both parties that the deal be inked before the new year.

The total contract for the supply of 18 Rafale fighters (12 used and six new), fully armed with Meteor, SCALP and Exocet missiles, is expected to amount to approximately 2.5 billion euros.

The General Staff of the Hellenic Air Force is in a race against time to select the first four pilots who will go to France for training at the beginning of the year, so that by May at the latest, the first – slightly used – Rafale will have landed at the Tanagra base and be ready to fully integrate into the air force fleet.

The contracts also include the maintenance of the existing Mirage-2000 MK-2 aircraft, as well as the renewal of all types of systems available to the armed forces – including electronic and weapons systems.

Athens and Paris are also in advanced talks to upgrade the army’s existing unmanned aerial vehicles (Sperwer). Furthermore, there is general cooperation between the two sides in the field of UAVs on both a bilateral and an EU level.

France is still interested in striking a deal with Greece for the [email protected] frigate program, despite the problems of recent months.

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