Interesting news posted by Scramble facebook page: on 9 January 2020, following the official visit of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to the White House, the Greek Defence Minister, Nikos Panagiotopoulos, revealed Greece’s armament plans.
Within the armament plans, Greece wants to acquire 24 Lockheed F-35A Lightning II aircraft at USD 3 billion (including all needed infrastructure), proceed with the upgrade of 80 plus F-16C/D Fighting Falcons and the purchase of war ships and other war material.
Speaking to Skai TV on 9 January, Nikos Panagiotopoulos said that the F-35A issue was raised by Greece in an effort to achieve “air superiority over Turkey” in the coming years.
Greece is seeking to bolster its defences and improve cooperation with NATO partner the United States after political and military tensions with Turkey intensified over territorial rights in the Aegean Sea and oil and gas exploration off Cyprus. Panagiotopoulos spoke after Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis met with President Donald Trump at the White House this week.
The United States has barred NATO member Turkey from a programme to manufacture and purchase F-35s after it bought S-400 air defence missiles from Russia last year.
Referring to negotiations as a time consuming procedure, he estimated that the acquisition of the Greek F-35A Lightning II would start after 2024.
The upgrade of the current F-16C/D models to the V (Viper) version is to start on short notice and is expected to be finished in seven to eight years.
At the same time, the Elliniki Polemiki Aeroporia (EPA, Hellenic Air Force) Mirage 2000s will receive a Follow-on Support (FoS) contract.