ATHENS – The arrival of the Rafale fighter jets in Greece marks a historic day, said National Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos during the ceremonious arrival of the first 6 of 24 military aircraft at the Tanagra air base on Wednesday.
The 114 Air Base at Tanagra has been the launching ground of the Mirage fighter jets for decades, he pointed out. Now the Rafales have come “to make a difference in the balance of power in the skies,” he added.
The entire support network and personnel on the ground, including technicians, is in operational readiness, noted the minister, “which is a necessary condition for the full integration of the Rafales in the ranks of the Greek Air Force.”
Aircraft manufacturing company Dassault Aviation CEO Eric Trapier stressed the strategic importance of the acquisition of these aircraft by Greece, while emphasizing the speedy completion of staff training and delivery of the Rafales.
Greece demonstrated in practice its confidence in France by choosing the Rafales, said French ambassador to Athens Patrick Maisonnave, as these “will protect Greek airspace for decades to come.” After the Mirages, the French ambassador pointed out, “a new chapter opens in Greek-French cooperation” with the arrival of the Rafales.
“Greece and France are united by a centuries old friendship,” he said, adding that “our peoples share the common values of freedom and solidarity, as well as a common vision for the future of Europe.”