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Purchase of 35 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters is “one way street”, says Greece’s Army

The purchase of 35 American UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters will be the first program that the General Staff of Land Forces and its new leadership under Chief Lieutenant General Georgios Kostidis will be called upon to negotiate.

According to military issues website onalert.gr  negotiations are due at the end of March, however, the cost of the purchase is a thorn.

The needs of the Air Force of the Army General Staff require the shortest possible implementation of the program for the purchase of UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters.

The replacement of the aging UH-1 Hueys is now reportedly “a one-way street, and the sooner the deal is completed, the sooner the first new helicopters will be received.”

The biggest “thorn” in the road to the acquisition of the “multi-tool” helicopters is none other than the financial one and the particularly limited funds of the Ministry of Finance, concerning the equipment programs of the Armed Forces, the which are in no way sufficient for a series of critical programs of all three branches of the Armed forces.

The final cost for the acquisition of the 35 helicopters reaches 1.2 billion dollars including staff training, spare parts in a limited number, support for five years, armament and ammunition.

However, the fact that it will be an interstate agreement through the FMS (Foreign Military Services) program, which provides for repayment until 2031 and a small down-payment, is a negotiating “weapon” in the hands of the Army General Staff (GES) in order to secure the necessary funding.

Military sources told onalert.gr that the decision to buy 35 helicopters is not random, but is based on studies regarding the needs of the Army Aviation and also of the Special Warfare Command, as the UH-60M are going to replace the almost twice as many UH-1H, AB-205 and AB-205A1, which have very limited capabilities especially for the modern field of operations.

Thus, it is made clear that if it is finally requested for budgetary reasons to acquire a smaller number of helicopters, these will not be able to cover the operational needs.

The new leadership of the GES and the relevant departments will be invited in the coming weeks to start negotiations with the Americans, specifically with the “Black Hawk Utility Helicopter Project Office”, in collaboration with the General Directorate of Defense Equipment and Investments in order to reach the final agreement and to sign the relevant agreement.

Then the countdown will begin to secure the slots and meet the schedule, which is delivery of the first helicopters by 2025 and completion of  all Black Hawks by the end of 2027.

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