August 9, 2001 (by Lieven Dewitte) - Greece plans to exercise an option to buy additional F-16 warplanes from the United States.
Greek officials said Athens will buy an additional 10 F-16 block 50 aircraft. The aircraft is an option of a contract Athens signed last year with Lockheed Martin.
In March 2000, Greece
ordered 50 F-16 jets in a $2 billion deal. Greece was given until Aug. 15 to exercise an option for an extra 10 aircraft. The cost of the 10 F-16s will be $263.8 million.
Officials said Greek Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos relayed his approval to Washington for the additional aircraft. The United States must approve Athens's order.
The Greek order came after four months after Athens suspended a $4 billion deal for 60 Eurofighter aircraft amid budget woes. The project was delayed until at least 2008. But Greece has continued with procurement of U.S. F-16 jets as well as 15 French Mirage jets.