In an extraordinary meeting, Greece’s Government Council of Defense and Foreign Affairs (KYSEA) approved the program for upgrading 85 fighter jets F-16 of the Hellenic Air Force. The program is worth 1.1 billion euros and has been approved after the US accepted the Greek proposal for payment in installments.
The extraordinary meeting of KYSEA was held on Saturday and was chaired by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.
A statement issued by the Prime Minister’s office “Following Defence Minister briefing that the US side has initially accepted the reviewed Greek proposal, after taking into account the country’s fiscal engagements for the following years, the Council unanimously approved the upgrading of Greece’s fleet of 85 F-16 fighter jets.”
The former proposal foresaw that Greece had to pay 900,000 euros by 2021. The new agreement gives Greece payment extension, installments for the first five years will have a cap of €120 million per year instead of €250 million. The total payment will be concluded by 2027-2028. According to calculation the total cost will be €1.1 billion although there are estimations it might be a bit lower.
According to media, the technical features of the upgrading program are: one or even two F-16 will be chosen and be transferred to the US where they will be upgraded. The aircraft F-16 Viper that will most probably leave Greece by August and is expected to return in 2020.
The upgrade of the remaining 84 F-16 will take place in Greece.
The Viper version includes a series of upgrades to the aircraft’s electronic systems, most notably with the Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar.
Another feature that the data collection through LING 16, and a flight planning system (JMPS).
The agreement also includes a F-16V flight simulator, upgrading two existing Air Force simulators to F-16V, upgrading ASPIS I self-protection systems to ASPIS II, ground support equipment, system integration and test systems, spare parts.
The first aircraft to be upgraded in Greece are the 30 F-16 Block 52 Advance as they are the latest acquired by the Hellenic Air Force in 2009.
The next are 55 F-16 Block 52plus, obtained in 2003.
Greece has four types of F-16 fighters, many of which can not exchange tactical field information.
Signatures on the agreement are expected as soon as possible.
A US inspection team is expected in Athens soon. It will evaluate among four F-16 which one will be suitable to go to the USA.
UPDATE: on Monday, April 30th, the General Secretary of the Greek Defense Ministry in charge of the program signed the Letter of Offer & Acceptance for the upgrading of the 85 F-16, website onalert.gr writes citing a press release issued by the ministry.