ATHENS – While trying to further defenses against Turkish combat drones as tension is rising, Greece is going ahead with plans to build its own, called the Grypas, expected to be operational by 2025.
An initiative was announced in September, 2022 by the Hellenic Aerospace Industry in cooperation with the Aristotle, Thessaly and Democritus universities after presentation of the first state-built drone, the Archytas.
The Grypas grew out of that joint production effort, said Defense News, which added that it will follow the Archytas project pattern but that its design will be based on a different concept of operations to respond to diverse mission requirements.
While the Archytas is intended to perform reconnaissance and surveillance above Greek islands, the Grypas will serve as a multipurpose system equipped for combat assignments, the site said.
“Universities will contribute their knowledge at specific and already defined domains, mostly regarding the non-operational part of the drone. Certification, integration and mission aspects will be covered exclusively by HAI as the sole owner of the product.” Nikos Koklas, Director of Research, Design and New Programs at HAI, told Defense News.
“However, in the Grypas case, the aircraft itself and the payload will be significantly larger with a more modular design,” Koklas added. The first phase of the Grypas project is to conclude by 2025, and produce a scaled version.
At the January program announcement, Defence Minister Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos noted the tension with Turkey, which has threatened to invade Greece and keeps violating Greek airspace although both belong to NATO.
“Our neighboring countries spent a lot of time, more than 10 years, in order to develop their own products. We, however, can, I think, go faster,” the minister said as Greece is building an arsenal of weapons and defense against Turkey.
The Grypas will be first sold to the Greek Armed Forces and once operational could likely be used at the upgraded Larissa air base — headquarters of the Heron and Pegasus II UAV squadrons – where US drones are also being used.