Greece seeks top-notch weapons from US
Athens is expressing the desire to join the F-35 program and is lobbying against Turkey’s attempts to upgrade its own air fleet
Greece has confirmed its desire to purchase a squadron of F-35 stealth fighter jets from the US, while lobbying against its regional rival Turkey’s attempts to upgrade its air force.
Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the Greek Prime Minister visited Congress and White House to discuss this deal. He announced that his country will move forward in its bid for 20-24 F-35 fighter aircrafts by 2028.
“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,”After previously noting Lockheed Martin produces the jets and mentioning it to Mitsotakis at the White House “officially expressed its interest in investing in Hellenic aerospace.”
Mitsotakis has also expressed concern over Turkey’s attempts to upgrade its F-16 fleet, accusing Ankara of endangering security in the eastern Mediterranean. Turkey and Greece both accused Turkey of violating their airspace in April.
“The last thing that NATO needs at a time when our focus is helping defeat Russian aggression is another source of instability on NATO’s southeastern flank,” Mitsotakis told lawmakers in Congress on Monday. “I ask you to take this into account when you make defense procurement decisions concerning the eastern Mediterranean.”
Turkey had previously been slapped with sanctions and excluded from the US’s F-35 program after it decided to purchase S-400 defense systems from Russia, despite Washington’s warnings not to do so. Ankara’s F-16 fleet has been aging since then. It now plans to update and add new aircraft. Turkish officials are reportedly expected to visit Washington later this week to ask Congress to approve an approximately $400 million deal to upgrade Turkey’s air force.
Ankara also tried to persuade the US to reinstate Turkey in F-35. Ankara also threatened to stop the NATO membership of Finland and Sweden because of the continuing military conflict between Russia & Ukraine.
Helsenki, Stockholm had announced that they would like to become NATO members. This requires unanimous support by all member countries. Bloomberg reported that Turkey made a list of demands to NATO and prospective members. These included the lifting of sanctions against Ankara for purchasing S-400, the reinstatement of Turkey into the F-35 Program, as well as approval to purchase dozens of F-16 warplanes for its fleet and upgrades kits.