Greece has bought six more Dassault Rafale 4++ fighters and now has 24
ATHENS, ($1=0.91 Euros) — After the Greek Ministry of Defense signed a contract only months ago to acquire 18 Dassault Rafale fighter jets, manufactured by the French company Dassault Aviation, on March 24 Greece and France agreed to buy six more of the same model fighter jets.
In Athens, the agreement was signed by Eric Trapier, chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation, and Vice Admiral Aristidis Alexopoulos, director-general of armaments and investment at the Greek Defense Ministry. The ceremony was also attended by Ms. Florence Parley, French Minister of the Armed Forces, and Mr. Nikolaos Panayotopoulos, Greek Minister of National Defense.
BulgarianMilitary.com reminds us that on January 19 this year the Greek Air Force [HAF – Hellenic Air Force] received the first six Rafale fighters from the French consortium Dassault Aviation. The fighter jets were piloted then by six Greek pilots, who took off from Dassault Aviation in Istria to the Greek airbase Tanagra. The 332nd Greek Squadron is stationed at Tanagra Air Base and operates the first French fighters.
“This new contract demonstrates the Greek government’s confidence in the Rafale, which is already actively contributing to guaranteeing Greece’s sovereignty and operational independence. Once again, I am honored by the Hellenic Air Force’s renewed trust in Dassault Aviation, reflecting nearly half a century of unwavering partnership. I would also like to assure the Greek authorities of our full commitment to fully meet their expectations,” Eric Trappier said after the signing ceremony on March 24.
Greece said that the recently approved purchase is part of a larger plan that expects to rapidly and resolutely increase the armed forces’ capabilities. To this end, all three types of armed forces are to be modernized, including the air force, which is crucial in a possible fight over the Aegean and Mediterranean seas. Its main strength is the 153 F-16C / D, supplemented by 42 Mirage 2000, responsible for the crisis clash with Turkish aviation and specialized for this task.
Current investments in Greek military aviation will include upgrading the majority of the 84 F-16C / D to the F-16V package, and the purchase of approximately 20 F-35As is under consideration. Also, an aviation school is established together with Israel. The Greeks will buy 10 M-346 Master for it. In this context, Rafale’s purchase should probably be treated not as a displacement of the Americans from the market but as an additional squadron.
Meanwhile, Rafale’s purchase expects to cost USD 3.4 billion, and their deliveries will begin in the middle of this year and end by mid-2023. The purchase price will also include MBDA Meteor long-range air-to-air missiles.
The quick acquisition of missiles of this particular class once again suggests these aircraft’s involvement in the fight for air supremacy and not, for example, in impact missions. It seems that such armed French fighters will be an essential deterrent against Turkish aviation.