By Dr. Rene Tebel
The constant threats of war and provocations from Ankara are having an effect. As already announced by Finance Minister Christos Staikouras in early September, Greece is investing 10 billion euros or a third of its cash reserves in its defense over the next ten years.
On Saturday, during a speech at the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF), Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced the immediate purchase of a squadron of 18 Dassault Rafale - French 4+ generation multi-purpose combat aircraft - to replace the aging Mirage 2000 aircraft. It is speculated that Greece will buy 10 Rafale for $70 million each, while France will give the Greeks another eight used Rafale free of charge.
The shopping list also includes four new multi-purpose frigates, for which 4 Romeo MH-60 Seahawk helicopters will also be purchased. Four existing Hydra-class frigates of German MEKO-200HN production are to be modernized and upgraded.
Over the next few months, about 1 to 1.5 billion euros are to be spent on the purchase of guided missiles, torpedoes and anti-tank weapons. Over the next five years, 15,000 professional soldiers will be recruited into the armed forces, Mitsotakis also said according to ekathimerini.
At the same time, announcements from the recent past can be seen:
In addition to the Dassault Rafale squadron, there is the Greek intention to purchase 24 F-35 Lightning II stealth bombers for $3 billion, as the Greek defense minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos already announced after the visit of the Greek prime minister Mitsotakis in January. The acquisition process for these 5th generation multi-role stealth-aircraft will thus begin in 2024.
A further measure is the modernization of the nearly 200 Greek F-16 fighter aircraft. They will be upgraded to F-16 Vipers by 2027 and, according to the US manufacturer, will then rank among the best F-16 versions. In contrast, the 200 Turkish F-16s are composed of older versions.
With the purchase of the Rafale, the modernization of the Greek F-16, and the presumed purchase of the F-35, the Hellenic Air Force would clearly turn the balance of power in the eastern Mediterranean in its favor and gain air supremacy over Turkey.
Ankara would only be left with the purchase of Russian SU-57s, 5th generation fighter aircraft from Russia, which in turn would cause a further step in the alienation between Turkey and the USA. However, Turkey is planning to build its own 5th generation stealth fighter since 2010. The "Turkish Fighter Experimental" (TFX) was presented in Paris last year in a full-scale model. A prototype is scheduled to fly in 2023, reported last year's Flugrevue. Mass production could start between 2025 and 2030.
This article was republished with the permission of Tebel Report
The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Al Bawaba News.
© 2000 - 2020 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)