The Greek authorities want to establish a balance of power with Turkey with the help of American F-35 fighters and French Rafale.
Greece has sent an official request to the United States for the acquisition of 18-24 fifth-generation F-35 fighter-bombers, starting in 2021. This was reported by the Greek newspaper Proto Thema with reference to the Greek Ministry of Defense on Monday, November 16.
After the decision to purchase 18 French Rafale fighters, the Greek government is said to have asked Washington for the immediate purchase of F-35 fighters. As it became known, an official letter of interest (Letter of Request — LOR), prepared by the Greek Ministry of National Defense, was sent to the US administration on November 6.
“The decision to include Greece in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program will be based on many factors such as the fighter program, the payout plan, the aircraft configuration and the possible combination for a total of 18-24 aircraft (new or used in US Air Force, if any) … We would be grateful for your immediate response, “says the Defense Ministry’s letter of interest, signed by Director General for Arms and Investment Theodoros Lagios.
It is indicated that it is important for Greece to receive the first F-35s already in 2021.
“For our part, we will do everything possible to implement this ambitious program,” the letter says.
At the same time, the Greek government has already received data on the availability and prices of fighters that the United States has for sale to Greece.
“With the immediate acquisition of a squadron of 18-24 fifth-generation F-35 fighters, along with the purchase of 18 French Rafale fighters, the Greek government is seeking to establish a balance of power with Turkey,” the newspaper writes.
French Rafale fighters are expected to begin shipping to the Air Force from early 2021 at a rate of one aircraft per month.
Recall that Greece is forced to strengthen its defenses against the backdrop of tensions with Turkey in the Aegean Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean. In addition to purchasing planes, Athens intends to purchase helicopters and four new frigates. And four more vessels of this type, produced in Germany, will undergo modernization. In addition, 15,000 new recruits will be added to the ranks of the Greek armed forces within five years.