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Greece to upgrade F-16 jets, has no plans to purchase F-35 for now

Greece’s government does not intend to purchase F-35 Stealth Fighters, but upgrade the F-16 jets, Deputy Defense Minister Dimitris Vitsas said on Friday.

Speaking to Skai TV,  Vitsas said that one stealth costs 100 million euros. “Multiply the total cost on 5 also for maintenance, infrastructure etc…Do we have the ability to do such things? When can we purchase such new fighters? In 2025.”

The issue of a possible purchase of F-35  stealth fighters came up in Greece after it became known that Turkey ordered a batch of F-35.

The deputy Defense Minister stressed that there is a program to upgrade the existing F-16 fighter jets and other weapon systems of the Armed Forces. The annual budget for the upgrading is at 475 million euros over the depth of a decade.

Stressing that the upgrading of the fleet was necessary, Vitsas said that a relevant request has been sent to the US Administration, the reply is expected around the end of spring.

“There is a need, there is a possible threat against Greece, I do not want to dramatize things, but there is, therefore, you need shield the defense,” the minister said with reference to Turkey.

On Thursday, Defense Minister Panos Kammenos told the Parliament that the the government was considering the upgrading of the F-16 but also the Russian S-300 surface-to-air missiles.

Kammenos admitted that on 07. Feb 2017 the Procurement Department of the ministry had forwarded a request about the price and availability for the possible purchase of twenty F-35.  The request was in the framework of  exploration, the Parliament will decide about any purchase, Kammenos said. He stressed that expenses for the military remain at 2 percent. The Minister said that the upgrade of F-16 and the S-300 were due since 2013.

Vitsas distanced himself from media reports a day earlier according to which there was a high possibility for a “heated incident with Turkey” in the territorial waters of Cyprus in June 2017, when French energy company TOTAL will conduct exploration in the area. Greek media were citing “expert’s estimation” by sources at the Greek Defense Ministry.

Cyprus government spokesman Nikos Christodoulidis reacted to the Greek claims saying that the “Hot incident” predicted by Greeks was false.

“There is no information on upcoming hot incident in Cyprus … I stick with the statement of the Cypriot government spokesman,” Vitsas said.

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6 comments

  1. Greece has money for planes?

  2. Greece, as does every nation, always has money for defence as it’s a necessary evil. Unfortunately we have hostile neighbours. Albania and Vardaska/Skopje aren’t a military threat and a joke and no threat whatsoever. Turkey is however and has been for a threat to Greece for over 400 years. 2.2 billion has been spent annually for past 4 years back from 5-6 billion in the old days. Nowadays we aren’t acquiring as much new equipment but we do have a very modern (more so than turkey ) equipment.

    • Cut the jokes.

      Greece spends money on the military to justify the commissions for defence ministry and for professional soldiers who make a living with the military.

      Conscription as well is a joke.

      Greece is in the EU and NATO, it needs a small, professional army, not the bloated badly trained army it has now.

      Turkey is not a threat at all.

      Kammenos just creates the threat to get people’s minds off the real issue in GR, it’s economy !

  3. What jokes are they ? They spend money on military to pay off the ministers ? So you’re saying everyone is in on it from president to prime minster all way down. Not because the threat from turkey is real.

    I must be imagining the thousands of air incursions annually with armed jets,the entering of our territorial waters with naval boats ( live fired the other day )and “survey” ships and verbal threats to take our islands and questioning the borders and a “Casus belli” ( justification for war ) by turkey if we extend our territorial waters to 12nm. Turkey extends their waters to 12nm in Black Sea. Must be imagining Cyprus in 74 and Imia in 96 amd the Greek genocide in 21/22. My great grandfather must of imagined hands cut off to not climb on the ships in the blood soaked waters of smyrna. Turkeys no threat at all

    EU and NATO don’t care and won’t go to war for Greece. NATO only cared about illegally bombing Serbia in the 90s. What else have they done apart from being a toothless tiger.

    Badly trained you mean the badly trained personnel that have won the best NATO pilot multiple in last few years, or LOK OYK special forces? We rely mainly on professional full time soldiers not conscripts, hence high spending.

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