ATHENS – Greece’s authorities mentioned Thursday it would pay 2.32 billion euros ($2.8 billion) for the acquisition of French-made Rafale fighter jets and an improve of suitable missiles, beneath a significant navy overhaul amid tensions with neighboring Turkey.
Supply of the 18 jets will start in mid-2021 and be accomplished over two years, authorities spokesman Stelios Petsas mentioned.
Greece has earmarked 11.5 billion euros ($14.1 billion) to modernize its armed forces over 5 years amid deteriorating relations with NATO ally Turkey over offshore vitality rights within the japanese Mediterranean.
The Rafale jets will embrace 12 plane at the moment in service with the French navy and 6 new planes to be constructed by Dassault Aviation.
“This motion will shift the steadiness of forces within the air,” Petsas mentioned, with out making any direct reference to Turkey.
As a part of the airforce improve, Greece may even buy Meteor air-to-air missiles, suitable with the Rafale jets.
Turkey, with a burgeoning home weapons business, outspends its a lot smaller neighbor — and historic regional rival — by about 5-to-1 in protection however has a smaller benefit in fighter-jet functionality than in different areas of the navy.
Greek protection officers argue that the Rafale acquisition will slender the hole following a choice by the USA final 12 months to expel Turkey from its F-35 fighter jet program in response to Ankara’s buy of the Russian S-400 air protection system.
The Trump administration adopted up with sanctions towards Turkey, introduced earlier this week.
Visiting Athens on Thursday, U.S. Power Secretary Dan Brouillette mentioned he had obtained renewed assurances from Greece’s authorities that Athens remained dedicated to resolving the dispute with Turkey by means of negotiations and at a global court docket if required.
“It is necessary that international locations resolve these issues in a court docket of regulation, not with navy may,” he instructed reporters on a convention name after talks with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. “So we’re going to proceed to induce all events to work this out favorably, utilizing the courts and never bullets to resolve these items.” ___ Comply with Gatopoulos at https://twitter.com/dgatopoulos
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