Greece to Acquire 40 F-35 Jets, Places Request for First 20

  • Our Bureau
  • 08:54 AM, July 1, 2022
  • 1221
Greece to Acquire 40 F-35 Jets, Places Request for First 20
F-35A Lightning II aircraft

Greece plans to acquire 40 F-35 jets from the United States and has placed a request for the first 20 aircraft, its Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told journalists after the NATO summit in Madrid Thursday.

"Our intention is to acquire an F-35 squadron with a possible option for a second one. Sending a Letter of Request (LoR) which has happened in the past few days is part of this process," Mitsotakis was quoted as saying by Reuters.

As per sources, “relevant document” has already been signed. The aircraft could be handed over to Greece from 2027 onwards, reports say.

State-owned TV ERT reported that a signed formal letter of request could be submitted to the U.S. Embassy in Athens this week.

Mitsotakis had referred to the purchase of F-35s during a visit in May to the U.S.

Greece shares an uneasy history and relationship with its NATO neighbor Turkey, sparked over issues concerning control of the mineral-rich Eastern Mediterranean region and the Aegean Sea.

Athens is working on building its relationship with the United States; and France, from which it has placed multibillion-dollar deals for frigates and combat aircraft. Last year, it ordered 24 Rafale jets for $2.6 billion and Belharra frigates, with an option for a fourth one.

The F-16s in service with the Hellenic Air Force could also be modernized soon, with the defense ministry close to approving the project. The service wants to upgrade the aircraft to “V” or Viper configuration for $270 million, a request that has already received a nod from the United States. This comes as Turkey’s request for new F-16s and modernization kits for the existing ones is expected to get clearance from U.S. lawmakers.

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