February 8, 2023

Athens News

News in English from Greece

US offers Greece 20 F-35 fighter jets for $3.5 billion

The documents that were opened this morning at the headquarters of the Greek Air Force by US representatives in charge of the 5th generation F-35 fighter program say that the US government is not only ready to supply this aircraft to Greece, but also came to Athens with a specific proposal, which is, in fact, a response to the Greek interest in this aircraft.

The US offer, according to information from the Air Force headquarters, concerns 20 F-35 Lightning II fighters, for $3.5 billion. The amount includes the necessary infrastructure both at the airbase where the F-35 aircraft will be located, and in general for the communication and interconnection systems of the Greek air defense fighters. The armament of the aircraft is not included in the amount, since the choice of weapons that will be included in the “clip” of the aircraft will be the subject of negotiations between Athens and Washington. And knowing about the prices for these “consumables”, we can assume that it will be calculated in 8-digit or 9-digit figures.

Given the green light given by the Americans, if Greece decides to join the program, then the first of twenty F-35 fighters should be delivered to the Air Force in 2026, and the last one will be received by the Greek Air Force five years later, i.e. in 2031. Once the agreement is reached, the training program will immediately be “launched”, as well as the construction of the necessary infrastructure, so that by the time the first F-35 fighter is acquired in 2026, everything is ready – both in terms of personnel of technicians and pilots, and technical support.

The American team, which is a member of the US Air Force JFO (Joint Program Office) program regarding the F-35 fighter, and the competent committee of the US government on equipment SAF / IA (Secretary of the Air Force for International Affairs) reported in detail to the Air Force Headquarters about the capabilities of the aircraft, its network-centric philosophy and the way it will “turn on” in Greek air defense, especially after upgrading 83 F-16s in the Viper configuration.

At the same time, the Americans answered questions from the Air Force headquarters, which for several years has not hidden its desire to include 5th generation aircraft in the arsenal of the Greek hawks. Turkey’s initial participation in the program, with an order for 100 F-35 fighter jets, caused serious concern for the Greek Air Force, since the acquisition of 5th generation aircraft by neighbors would mean a serious disruption in air relations and the overall balance of power.

but an exception Turkey from the F-35 project at a time when the first fighters had already been built by order of the Air Force, and the acquisition of Russian S-400s instead brought relief for the Greek military. Following this, Greece acquired twenty-four French 5th generation Rafale aircraft while the US F-16s are being upgraded to the Viper version.

According to the Greek side, the acquisition of the F-35 will make it possible to take another big step towards absolute air superiority, primarily against Turkey, its main adversary. And the United States will have a new opportunity to “roll out” Turkey to abandon the S-400 in exchange for unlocking the program for the supply of 5th generation aircraft.

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