x

Politics

With Eye on Turkey, Greece Opens Israeli-Built Flight School

October 21, 2022

KALAMATA — Greece on Friday launched operations at a new international pilot training center created in partnership with Israel, as it tries to build on its relative air power advantage over regional rival Turkey.

Israeli defense contractor Elbit, which finalized a $1.65 billion deal with Greece’s government, assisted by Israel, last year, will help run the facility located on an air force base outside the southern Greek city of Kalamata.

From left, Major Gen. Georgios Vagenas, commander of the Greek Air Force Training Command, Head of SIBAT Yair Kulas, President and CEO of Elbit Systems Bezhalel Machlis stand on a T-6 single-engine turboprop training aircraft at an airbase outside the southern Greek city of Kalamata, Greece, on Friday, Oct. 21, 2022. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

Greece is undertaking an armed forces modernization program largely focused on its air force, as it hopes to outpace Turkey. Athens is acquiring advanced French-built Rafale jets, upgrading its aging fleet of F-16 fighter jets and wants to join the United States’ F-35 jet program.

Turkey was dropped from the F-35 program after its purchase of the Russian S-400 air defense system.

A Greek Airforce Pilot looks at T-6 single-engine turboprop training aircraft at an airbase outside the southern Greek city of Kalamata, Greece, on Friday, Oct. 21, 2022. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

NATO members Greece and Turkey remain at odds over sea boundaries and the military presence on eastern Greek islands that Ankara maintains violates international treaties.

The new training center started operating Friday with 14 of an expected 25 T-6 single-engine turboprop aircraft. The fleet is set to expand next year with the delivery of 19 Italian-built M-346 training jets equipped with embedded virtual avionics that simulate combat and and flight scenarios.

A Greek Airforce Pilot speaks with a ground staffer in front of T-6 single-engine turboprop training aircrafts at an airbase outside the southern Greek city of Kalamata, Greece, on Friday, Oct. 21, 2022. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

While the flight school officially opened Friday it will not be fully operational until early 2024, Elbit officials said.

Major Gen. Georgios Vagenas, commander of the Greek Air Force Training Command, said the T-6 aircraft would provide 7,000 flight training hours annually, while the M-346 jets would provide 3,500 hours.

Greek airforce maintenance stuff park a T-6 single-engine turboprop training aircraft at an airbase outside the southern Greek city of Kalamata, Greece, on Friday, Oct. 21, 2022. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

“These facilities will prepare fighter squadrons for the generation of fighter aircraft that the air force recently acquired,” Vagenas said. “It will be the main mechanism to counter threats … coming from our neighbor to the east.”

 

RELATED

SolidarityNow, tasked with the mission to support the most vulnerable members of our society without discrimination and with faith in the value and power of solidarity, celebrated on Monday 23-January, it’s 10-year continuous contribution to the Greek society, according to organization's  press release.

Top Stories

Columnists

A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

FALMOUTH, MA – The police in Falmouth have identified the victim in an accident involving a car plunging into the ocean on February 20, NBC10 Boston reported.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

Video

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. [email protected]

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.