With a broad majority the Greek parliament approved at a plenary vote the Defense Ministry bill for the acquisition of 18 French Rafale fighter jets on Thursday evening.
The bill was voted in favor by ruling New Democracy, main opposition party SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance, Movement for Change (KINAL) and Greek Solution; the Greek Communist Party and MeRA25 rejected the bill.
Parliamentary approval allows Greece to proceed with procuring 18 French-made Rafale fighter jets – 12 used and 6 new.
Defence Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos called on all parties and parliament committees to monitor the implementation of the contracts, and he also accepted KINAL’s amendment for this check to be carried out every 6 months by the standing parliamentary committee.
Greece is scheduled to receive the Rafales in three installments: the first 6 used aircraft by June 2021 (6 months after contract signing), 6 new aircraft on the 20th such month, and the final 6 used jets are to be received on the 26th month (in 2023).
The minister also expressed his hope that Greece’s armaments industry will soon be able to take on the task of maintaining the fighter jets and their on-board weapons systems itself.
The agreement with France is scheduled to be signed next week, when the French Defense Minister will visit Athens.
According to media reports, Florence Parly will have in her luggage also a draft agreement for four Belharra frigates. Cost for each one: 1 billion euros. three of them should be constructed in Greece, Star TV reported on Tuesday.