Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is due to unveil the government’s defense program, possibly including the content of talks with French President Emmanuel Macron on the sidelines of a European-Mediterranean leaders’ meeting in Corsica on Thursday.
Among the details that the prime minister is expected to reveal during a speech in Thessaloniki on Saturday is the acquisition of 18 Rafale fighter jets, older and new.
Athens’ interest in the Dassault-built aircraft intensified earlier this summer following France’s decisive response to Turkish provocations in the Eastern Mediterranean in late July, but also in August, when its air force dispatched five jets to Souda in Crete and Paphos in Cyprus, and it joined naval exercise with Greece south of Crete.
Talks are also under way for an agreement concerning support for Greece’s fleet of Mirage jets, while Parliament earlier this week ratified a program for long-range Scalp EG cruise missiles.
The French are also reportedly eager to reach a deal for Greece’s acquisition of two state-of-the-art Belh@rra frigates or some other vessel, though it is competing with offers from countries like the United States, The Netherlands, Germany and Spain. [katimerini]