U.S. Senator Jim Risch, the top Republican on the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, has reportedly approved the sale of F-35 Lightning II stealth jets to Greece.
In February, the committee’s chair, U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, green-lit the deal. This was followed by approval from Republican co-chair Michael McCaul and the ranking Democrat on the committee, Gregory Meeks.
The U.S. government will formally notify Congress of the sale of F-35s to Greece, now that the consensus of all four officials has been obtained.
The Greek government sent an official request to the U.S. for the purchase of first 20 Lockheed Martin-made F-35s last year. The Hellenic Air Force wants a 40-strong fleet of F-35 Block 4s. It expects delivery of the first F-35 to take place between 2028 and 2033, although the American side is yet to put pen to paper in a formal Letter of Acceptance (LOA).
The first instalment for the supply of the fifth-generation F-35s is expected to amount to €350 million, following the finalization of the deduction of the so-called SSI (security, supply, information) from the final price of the F-35 aircraft.
Greece’s rival and NATO member state Turkey has yet to receive the nod to buy new F-16 fighters, the aircraft it sought after the U.S. turned down its F-35 proposal for buying S-400 missile systems from Russia.