The US has agreed to sell 20 F-35A Lightning II fighters to Greece: six of them will be jets that were originally ordered by Turkey but not delivered.
News reports from Greece say that the US has agreed to sell 20 F-35A Lightning II fighters to Greece, six of them will be jets that were originally ordered by Turkey but not delivered, Alert5.com says.
Greek newspaper Estia said the order was discussed during Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to the country earlier this month.
Noteworthy, in January 2020, Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis visited Donald Trump in the White House and discussed Greece’s interest in the F-35. In the following days, Greece’s Minister for National Defence Nikos Panagiotopoulos announced that, alongside upgrading Greece’s fleet of F-16s, Greece was looking to procure 24 F-35 aircraft at an estimated cost of US$3 billion.
Panagiotopoulos then told to Skai TV that Greece is looking to buy the F-35 to achieve “air superiority over Turkey” in the coming years.
“Someday Greece will also go to the 5th generation aircraft that has unique characteristics, the so-called stealth that is not detected by hostile radars but also has some formidable capabilities in terms of its electronic and weapon systems. Greece will, anyway, like the other countries, go to this 5th generation aircraft. The way we insist on doing this is firstly to upgrade the F-16 fleet to something between the 4th and 5th generations,” Panagiotopoulos said.
The F-35 order by Greece would follow the country purchase of 18 Rafale omnirole aircraft for the Hellenic Air Force (HAF) announced on Sep. 12, 2020.
Mitsotakis said in the following video that the fighters will replace the Mirage 2000-5 currently in service with the HAF.
As we have previously explained, since Turkey opted to purchase the Russian S-400 missile defense system despite being a NATO member, it was withdrawn from the F-35 program.
The F-35 “was developed especially against Russia and China,” Haluk Özdalga, a prominent Turkish journalist and former member of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) to which Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan belongs to, told to Ahval.
Özdalga concluded that with Greece’s purchase of the F-35’s “balances can be turned upside down in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East, including Cyprus.”
Photo credit: U.S. Air Force