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Greece does not purchase S-300 missiles; it’s just upgrades of “old stuff”

Is Greece about to purchase Russian anti-aircraft missiles S-300 and anger its creditors? “No,” says Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos, adding that “Greece is in talks with Russia only for the maintenance and technical support of the existing missiles system.”

Greece acquired S-300 PMU1 anti-aircraft system after the Cyprus Missile Crisis in 1999 and has been operational with the Hellenic Air Force on the island of Crete since the year 2000.

S-300 is a mobile long range anti-aircraft system (HSAM) with a search radar range of 300Km and engagement range of 150km.

The system is comprised of a Command and Control Unitt (83 M6E) and 2 Fire control Units (90ZH6E). Each Fire Control Unit has 4 Launching stations.

The system consists of 2 Batteries, 8 Launchers and 39 Missiles.

Greece first fired an S-300 during the White Eagle 2013 military exercise, which was the first time it was used since it was bought 14 years earlier.

Citing Russian news agency RIA Novosti, Reuters reported on Wednesday that NATO member Greece was in talks with Moscow to purchase S-300.

Greece is negotiating with Russia for the purchase of missiles for its S-300 anti-missile systems and for their maintenance, Russia’s RIA news agency quoted Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos as saying on Wednesday.

“We are limiting ourselves to replacement of missiles (for the systems),” RIA quoted Kammenos, who is in Moscow for a security conference, as saying.

“There are negotiations between Russia and Greece on the maintenance of the systems … as well as for the purchase of new missiles for the S-300 systems,” he said.

The Greek defense ministry in Athens later issued a statement quoting Kammenos as saying: “The existing defense cooperation programs will continue. There will be maintenance for the existing programs.” (Reuters)


“My statements were sufficiently clear,” Panos Kammenos told Athens News Agency  adding that “we are discussing with the Russian side only technical support issues and of course, the replacement of the expired missiles in the existing S-300 systems. The rest is science fiction scenarios.”

No details about the cost of maintenance, technical support and replacement of the expired missiles are known.

The 500-million-dollar contract

While Greece is struggling to avoid bankruptcy, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and  his junior coalition partner Panos Kammenos signed a 500-million-dollar contract for the overhaul and upgrade of five P-3B Orion maritime patrol aircraft. The bilateral agreement was signed on 15. March between Greece and the USA, the upgrade will be undertaken by Lockheed Martin. It is the first big armament contact in ten years.

“The 35-year-old aircraft are currently grounded, which prevents Greece from undertaking NATO surveillance operations in the region. NATO has assigned the role to Turkey instead,” Defense Minister Panos Kammenos said in …defense of the contract as the issue and especially the cost prompted criticism from the opposition parties but also sparked reactions within ruling party SYRIZA with some ministers criticizing the timing for the expenditure.

A 45-million-dollar check has already been sent to Lockheed Martin, Greek media reported beginning of April.

Six aircraft P-3B Orion were purchased free of charge form the USA in 1991-1992.

The modernization and maintenance program aims to prolong the life of the 35-year-old aircraft for another 15,000 flight hours.

The program is expected to conclude in seven years.

By then the P-3B Orion will be 42 years old.

These aircraft were in service of the Navy until 2009, when the Supreme Naval Directors decided that their modernization is economically disadvantageous and proceeded to their withdrawal.” notes Proto Thema.

On and off the modernization was given green light and then was frozen but at the end, under the recommendation of Kammenos the upgrade was proceeded.

Odd enough, it was the previous, the Samaras’ government that had submitted the request for the overhaul and modernization of the five P-3B Orion aircraft. The decision was announced by the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) on October 7th 2014. Delivery, system checkout, training, and program reviews are expected to extend to a period of 7 years. Operation of the refurbished aircraft will be more costly.

Conclusion: Greece does not make new armament purchases it just upgrades its old stuff.

On the other hand, this is how funding and political support is being done since “always”. Some screws from the USA, some batteries from Russia. Do you still remember all these reports about Greece’s second bailout and Eurofighter purchases? Or the under the hand deal “German submarines for Eurozone entrance“?

Of course, this “Eurofighter-tanks-frigates” plan could not materialize so far, then it would have been an AAA scandal and could expose our esteemed EU partners Germany and France, first of all.


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  1. Of course.

    An “upgrade” is not a “purchase”. – Let’s rather call it “austerity”.

    This Greek government is provoking its credittors continuously.

    A Grexit by design, not by accident.

    The EU and Putin are trading in the Ukraine for Greece 🙂