After two days of debate, during which a cross-party consensus formed, 276 out of 300 Greek lawmakers voted positively on the law paving the way for a purchase of 18 Dassault for a total of €2.5 billion. An agreement is due to be signed in Athens, Greece between Greek and French ministers before the end of January 2021.
The contract includes 12 used Rafale of the French Air Force and 6 new ones, all to the F3R standard, as well as an array of weapons that include Exocet anti-ship missiles and SCALP cruise missiles.
The acquisition is part of Greece’s plans to strengthen its defense capacity as it faces increased tensions with Turkey regarding their respective territorial waters in the East Mediterranean region. “The purchase of French Rafale fighters and the weapons they will incorporate is for our Defense what is the vaccine for the pandemic,” commented Makarios Lazaridis, member of the New Democrat party.
The first six fighters, taken from the inventory of the French Air Force, should arrive as early as July 2021 in Greece. The rest of the order will be delivered in two installments of six in 2022 and 2023.
The Rafale jets will be based in Tanagra, the home base of the 114th Combat Wing of the Hellenic Air Force. The wing is used to French-made aircraft: after flying the Mirage F1CG fighter from 1975 to 2003, it is currently equipped with the Mirage 2000-5.