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Thirty new F-16 block 52+ aircraft for Greece

July 19, 2005 (by Lieven Dewitte) - Greece will acquire 30 F-16C/D block 52+ aircraft in the next 5 years.The decision has been taken by the State Council of Foreign Affairs and Defense (KYSEA) today.

The first Greek F-16D block 52+ (#601) was temporarily based at Edwards AFB for pre-delivery testflights [LMTAS photo]

The estimated cost of the 30 F-16s will reach about 1.32 billion dollars but the final amount will be determined after negotiations, depending on the equipment to be included in the planes.

The Greek defense ministry will request the provision of maintenance support for the F-16 jets as part of the offset deal.

Greece will also sign an option to obtain 10 more F-16s of the exact same type for operational needs as part of a four-year arms program extending to 2010.

The F-16 purchase is meant to fill a gap in the fighter-jet fleet of the Hellenic Air Force. Officials said the fleet has been eroded by attrition and the air force determined an interim requirement for third-generation aircraft.

Greek Defense Minister Spilios Spiliotopoulos, according to Bloomberg, wants the new F-16s delivered in 2008 and 2009.

Last year Greece decided to scrap their agreement with the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) to buy 60 Eurofighter jets.

The current centre-right government, which took office last March, didn't feel bound by the decision of the former Socialist government.

Johann Heitzmann, President and CEO of EADS Military Aircraft, denied the decision of the Greek government pre-empts anything in terms of an Eurofighter procurement. EADS is convinced that on one of the forthcoming KYSEA meeting the Eurofighter will be the number one for the HAF.

Defense ministry spokesman Stefanos Gikas said Greece would be looking to buy fourth-generation fighters with its next order for 30 aircraft, meaning EADS could indeed still be in the game.

Greece currently has about 140 F-16s and also flies 34 French-made Mirage 2000s.