Fighter jet price tag in dispute

The government came under fire from the opposition yesterday over the purchase of 40 F-16 fighter jets from the United States that PASOK claims is too expensive and will hurt the economy’s growth prospects. In July, Defense Minister Spilios Spiliotopoulos said that the cost of the first 30 F-16 aircraft will amount to 1.1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) but that the exact amount would be determined after final negotiations. The United States Department of Defense announced, however, on Wednesday that the value of the deal, including the optional 10 aircraft, would reach $3.1 billion (2.6 billion euros). PASOK has demanded an explanation from the government over the difference in price. «It has been announced that the cost of the F-16 fighter jets exceeds $3 billion, hurting the economy and its future development potential,» PASOK Deputy Christos Papoutsis said. Spiliotopoulos responded to the news from the US on Thursday by saying that the issue is still being negotiated and that no final agreement has been made.