Greece is further looking to upgrade its air fleet with the acquisition of new American-made C-130J Super Hercules transport craft and is reportedly in talks with the United States to get them.
CNN Greece reported that a US delegation recently visited Athens for discussions with the country’s political and military leadership to explore the possibility of Greece acquiring the aircraft.
The US delegation was said to include representatives from the Department of Defense, Air Force, and Lockheed Martin, who talked with senior Greek officers responsible for the Air Force’s armament programs, including the General Directorate for Defense Investments and Armaments (GDDIA).
The report said that during the talks, the Greek Air Force raised vital concerns such as aircraft availability, the systems they would carry, and potential delivery timelines being discussed.
Greece had earlier submitted a Letter of Request seeking information on the cost and availability of six C-130 aircraft in the ‘J’ configuration, the proposal said to be include staff training and ongoing support.
Greece is looking for six of the transport planes, a deal to be between 130-140 million euros ($141.40-$152.28 million), Greek aviation sources telling the news site the US would deliver basic configuration aircraft with most of the systems the Greek Air Force wants.
After a year of use and testing, Greece would have the choice to upgrade with additional systems based on their satisfaction with the performance, reports adding that the GDDIA will be responsible for drafting and sending Greece’s formal request to the US government, which will go through Congress.
Greece has a lack of transport aircraft, highlighted when there was an inability to safely fly to Turkey for civilian evacuations after an earthquake and a mission to Sudan showing the problem, the report said.
Greece’s Air Force also needs a greater capability to respond to crises or natural disasters, the report added, and most of its C-130 Hercules fleet is grounded, leaving only eight smaller C-27 transports.
The US Department of Defense has also informed Congress about a potential transfer of two second-hand C-130 Hercules transports from the US surplus defense material to Greece.
Greece had also explored the possibility of acquiring second-hand transport aircraft from various countries, including expressing interest in the British C-130J Super Hercules to replace its existing used C-130s, said the report.
In early 2023, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis authorized the purchase of six second-hand C-130J Super Hercules from Italy but details of the plan to add more new aircraft is up in the air.