Τhe upgrading program for 85 F-16 fighter jets with the Block 70/72 Viper system will be formally launched on Monday, Lockheed Martin’s VP Business Development Initiatives in Europe Dennis Plessas said at a press conference in Thessaloniki.
Revealing the time table of the upgrade, Plessas said that ” a great part of the upgrade will take place in Greece.”
The first two years will be spent on engineering for the prototype and the registration of the systems.
The installation on Greek fighter jets will take place during the third year of the program, and the Hellenic Airforce pilots will be trained in the fourth year.
The training is anticipated to be brief, as he said, because of the expertise of Greek fighter pilots.
The upgrade of the 85 warplanes to Vipers “ will provide the Hellenic Airforce with an entirely new aircraft, as the only element we shall keep is the fuselage,” Plessas added.
He stressed that the F-16s and the fifth-generation F-22 and F-35 share some technology, including the new radars to be installed (digital sweeping model APG83).
Among other issues, Plessas said that 70% of the Hercules transport planes’s latest edition, J, delivered by Lockheed Martin to Australia “ was made by Greek hands.”
The upgrading program was planned long ago but it was postponed due to the Greek economic crisis.
Last April, Greece’s Government Council of Defense and Foreign Affairs (KYSEA) approved the upgrading after the US accepted the Greek proposal for payment in installments.
The program is calculated to be worth 1.1 billion euros, although there are estimations the cost might be a bit lower
According to the payment agreement, installments for the first five years will have a cap of €120 million. The total payment will be concluded by 2027-2028.