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Greece to get two Squadrons of Fifth-Gen F-35 Multi-Role Fighter Jets.

| Defense News Army 2024

The Greek Ministry of Defense, led by Nikolaos Dendias, has confirmed its plan to acquire 20 F-35A Lightning II aircraft, with an option for an additional 20, marking a significant shift to fifth-generation technology. This initiative was formalized after receiving a letter of acceptance from the United States in February 2024, which approved the sale of these advanced combat jets, excluding armaments, for an estimated cost of $8.6 billion.
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F-35A Lightning II Multi-Role Fighter Jets (Picture source: Lockheed Martin)

The American acceptance letter initiates two months during which Greece must finalize the purchase contracts. Greek authorities hope to complete these proceedings before the European elections, by the deadline of June 9 specified in the letter. The delivery of the first F-35s to the Hellenic Air Force is scheduled for 2028.

The integration of the F-35s, fifth-generation fighter jets equipped with the latest in stealth technology and advanced combat capabilities, is expected to enhance Greece's aerial power significantly. The F-35A Lightning II is designed for multiple combat roles, including air superiority, ground attack, and reconnaissance, with advanced stealth capabilities that allow them to operate undetected in contested airspaces. Incorporating these aircraft into the Greek fleet would substantially improve Greece's ability to defend its airspace against regional adversaries and strengthen its strategic posture in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Greece's order of F-35s is part of a broader trend of aerial fleet modernization globally, where countries are seeking to ensure their national security and maintain a competitive stance geopolitically. The global fighter jet market is dominated by key players such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Dassault Aviation, and BAE Systems, which offer aircraft capable of performing various operational roles to meet modern defense needs.

It is important to emphasize that as part of its air force modernization strategy, Greece aims to assemble a fleet of 200 modern aircraft of 4.5th and 5th generation by 2030, as stated by the Minister of Defense, Nikolaos Dendias. This number includes a mix of modernizing existing equipment and new acquisitions. Specifically, the projected fleet will include 82 F-16C/-D Block 52+/-Block 52+ Advanced currently being upgraded to the Viper configuration, and 38 F-16C/-D Block 50 that will also be updated to the same standard. Additionally, 24 Rafale F3R aircraft, for which contracts have already been finalized, will be part of this fleet. These initiatives represent a total of 144 fighters, to which other acquisitions, including the F-35A Lightning II, will be added to reach the target number of 200 aircraft.

The F-35 is a modern and highly adaptable aircraft designed to fulfill various roles, including air superiority, close air support, reconnaissance, and ground strike missions. With its integrated combat system and stealth capabilities, it serves as a crucial asset in contemporary military operations. Equipped with powerful engines and advanced avionics, it delivers impressive performance in terms of speed, maneuverability, and range.

Furthermore, the F-35's sensor and communication systems enhance its connectivity with other airborne platforms and command centers, improving situational awareness and mission coordination. This capability significantly contributes to its effectiveness in enhancing overall military operational efficiency.

The F-35A has also been ordered by the Netherlands, Italy, Australia, Norway, South Korea, Japan, Turkey (since then withdrawn from the F-35 program), Belgium, Denmark, Poland, the United Arab Emirates, Switzerland, Germany, and Finland. It carries up to 8.38 tonnes of fuel internally.


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