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F-35: PM Mitsotakis welcomes US State Dept decision

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has welcomed the US State Department’s decision to give the green light to the sale of Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth fighter jets to Greece, describing it as “an important day for our national defense and for Greek diplomacy.”

Mitsotakis added that a letter he received from US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in relation to the decision “highlighted and sealed the strategic depth of Greek-American relations.”

In statements to the public, PM Mitsotakis said that while “Greece is officially on track to acquire up to 40 latest generation F-35 fighter jets,” it will also acquire “a very large package of equipment for free, which decisively strengthens all three branches of the armed forces, as well as the Hellenic Coast Guard.”

The additional equipment will include frigates, C-130 transports, armored tanks and vehicles that he said he secured following a personal request to US President Joe Biden in May 2022.

“Thus, the homeland is doubly shielded: on the one hand, its deterrent power is enhanced on land, in the air and at sea, and on the other hand, the Greek taxpayer is not burdened, as this package will be available free of charge, from US reserves.”

On Friday, the US administration formally informed Congress of its intention to proceed with a $8.6-billion deal to sell 20 Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth fighter jets to Greece. At the same time, it announced the $23 billion sale of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey, a deal that Washington advanced as it tries to strike a balance between the two NATO.

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One comment

  1. “The additional equipment will include frigates, C-130 transports, armored tanks and vehicles that he said he secured following a personal request to US President Joe Biden in May 2022.”

    I suspect that this is nothing to do with any personal approach by Mitsotakis to Biden. He is simply trying to gain credit from voters for something that is a normal part of the procurement programme.

    Under the procurement rules, when military equipment is bought from a foreign company that company has to provide additional benefit to Greece of at least 60 % of the foreign currency part of the purchase. This is known as an “Offset Benefit” programme. There are several alternative ways of doing this but provision of additional military equipment is fairly common. The equipment will often be things that are surplus to requirements in the selling country and would be mothballed but can be counted as part of the Offset Benefit at its full commercial value.