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Politics

More US F-16 Fighter Jets Coming, Greece Looks to F-35’s Too

ATHENS – Hoping to take advantage of Turkey being barred from buying them, Greece wants to acquire US-made F-35 fighter jets to add to more F-16s to fend off Turkish provocations.

Greece is trying to seize a moment after signing a Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement (MDCA) deal with the United States and is reportedly proceeding with a series of sub-programs by the American defense industry, said Kathimerini.

That comes as Greek officials are upset that the US, playing both sides against the middle, also wants to upgrade F-16’s sold to Turkey despite Greek objections about Turkey repeatedly violating Greek airspace.

The first F-16 Vipers will be delivered to the Hellenic Air Force by the end of the year and Greece and the US are still discussing three MQ-9 drones, amphibious armored vehicles and a number of smaller projects,, the paper said.

In Washington, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis confirmed that Greece wants the F-35s and said an American defense contractor is seeking to invest in the country’s aerospace industry.

“We will launch the process for the acquisition of a squadron of F-35 aircraft, and we do hope to be able to add this fantastic plane to the Greek Air Force before the end of this decade. And I’m happy that … Lockheed Martin officially expressed its interest in investing in Hellenic aerospace,” Mitsotakis said at the opening of a reception following a meeting at the Oval Office with US President Joe Biden.

“Our two nations are working together across the board on climate and energy, on trade and investment, on defense and disaster response, and so much more,” Biden said in his speech at the White House’s East Room.

On May 23, a delegation from the Pentagon’s F-35 Joint Program Office will arrive in Athens for a visit – scheduled before the finalization of Mitsotakis’ trip to the US – to have contacts with the Hellenic Air Force and the Defense Ministry.

It’s to update the information on the price and availability of Lockheed Martin F-35s which each cost about $80 million, although the first wouldn’t arrive until 2027-29, the report said.

Turkish Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin he said still hoped the US Congress would go along with Biden’ request to update Turkey’s F-16s as the US supplies weapons to both sides.

In an interview with Reuters, Kalin stated that the Biden government has taken steps to make that happen but didn’t say what those were. “We now hope it will receive congressional approval,” he said.

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