US approves sale of F-35 fighter jets to Greece
Greece could buy up to forty F-35 fighter jets from the United States.
The U.S. State Department on Friday approved the potential sale of up to forty F-35 fighter jets and respective equipment to Greece, in a $8.6 billion deal.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said in a video statement that, as part of the deal, the Greek state will also receive significant military aid, at no extra cost. This would include frigates, C-130 transport aircraft, armoured tanks and vehicles.
“This is the result of a methodical, quiet and long effort, which combined Greece’s consistency as an ally on the international fronts with the promotion of its national interests. A result which consolidates, at the same time, the dynamic and independent Greek-American strategic relationship.
Mitsotakis’ official request to the US for the purchase of twenty Lockheed Martin-made F-35 fighter jets was submitted in 2022.
Greece’s airspace defense ability improved with F-35 acquisition
The U.S. State Department estimates that the sale of F-35 fighter jets to Greece will not alter the basic military balance in the region.
“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy goals and national security of the United States by improving the air capabilities and interoperability of a NATO Ally that is a force for political and economic stability in Europe,” the State Department comments in its respective announcement.
It adds that the deal will allow Greece to modernize its air force and improve Greece’s ability to provide for the defense of its airspace, contribute to NATO missions to preserve regional security and defend NATO Allies, and maintain interoperability with U.S. and NATO forces.
According to the State Department, the F-35 will offset the increasing obsolescence of other Hellenic Air Force aircraft such as the F-4 and Mirage 2000.
“Greece will have no difficulty absorbing these articles and services into its armed forces,” it opines.
The next steps for sealing the deal will be for the U.S. Congress to approve the sale. Negotiations should then begin for the conclusion of the contract, defining the delivery schedules, the equipment, and the way of financing.