In a context of tensions with Turkey, it is a purchase that marks Greece’s partnership with France. Athens signed a contract on Monday 25 January for the purchase of 18 Rafale fighter jets, a journalist from Agence France-Presse (AFP) noted.
The amount of the transaction amounts to approximately 2.5 billion euros and includes the supply by Paris of twelve second-hand aircraft, taken from the inventory of the French Air Force, six new aircraft from from the manufacturer Dassault Aviation, as well as the associated logistical support and armaments.
Evoking a “Very dense operational partnership” with Athens, French Armed Minister Florence Parly, who visited the Greek capital for the contract signing ceremony, greeted a “Significant success” for the Rafale. For the first time, the combat aircraft is sold to a European country, a region to which France is seeking to refocus its exports and cooperation.
This acquisition was discussed in record time between the two governments. The decision to negotiate was taken in September by Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, in reaction to Turkey’s gas explorations and show of force in disputed waters with Greece and Cyprus.
In recent months, France has demonstrably sided with Athens and sent Rafales and warships during the summer due to the deployment of Turkish military and prospecting vessels in an area claimed by Greece. Turkish actions qualified in December of“Illegal and aggressive” by the leaders of the European Union.
Rafale deliveries are due to start in July. “The first pilots and technicians of the Greek Air Force will travel to France in the coming days for their training”, reported Greek government spokesman Christos Tarantilis.