Prime Minister of Greece Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced on Friday an expansion plan for country’s armed forces that includes the purchase of four frigates, four helicopters and 18 Rafale fighters.
Dassault confirmed the deal in the following day stating that the “announcement illustrates the strength of the partnership that has linked the Greek Air Force and Dassault Aviation for more than 45 years, and demonstrates the enduring strategic relationship between Greece and France.”
“I am delighted with this announcement, which reinforces the exceptional relationship we have had with Greece for nearly half a century, and I thank the Greek authorities for their confidence in us once again. Dassault Aviation is fully mobilized to meet the operational needs expressed by the Greek Air Force, and thus contribute to ensuring Greece’s sovereignty and the safety of the Greek people,” said Eric Trappier, CEO of Dassault Aviation.
According to Mitsotakis, the first Rafale fighters will be delivered in 2021, a clear sign of Greece’s urgency to strengthen its military arsenal in the face of increased tensions with Turkey over gas reserves in the Mediterranean.
Hellenic Air Force is a very old customer of Dassault. The first order of fighters occurred in 1974 when 40 Mirage F1 were purchased. In 1985, Greece signed an agreement for another 40 Mirage 2000 fighters and 15 Mirage 2000-5 units in 2000.
Despite this, Greece’s main fighter is the Lockheed Martin F-16 C/D, of which there are about 155 operational aircraft. Introduced in 2001, the Rafale is now operated by four countries, France, India, Egypt and Qatar.