November 4, 1997 (by Lieven Dewitte) - In order to counter the expansion of the Turkish Air Force, which will field about 240F-16C/D aircraft by the turn of the century, the Hellenic AF is looking for up to 60 additional fighter aircraft.
Candidates for the new HAF
fighter are the Boeing-McDonnell Douglas F-15E, Sukhoi Su-27/30, Lockheed Martin F-16C/D block 60
, and Dassault Mirage 2000-5.
has asked Greece
to assign the nuclear strike role to F-16 units, a request that was turned down by Athens since the HAF needs its scarce F-16resources for air defense and conventional ground attack missions. The nuclear strike role is currently performed by A-7 Corsair aircraft with(US-owned) B61-5 tactical thermonuclear weapons.
The option to "cascade" a squadron of surplus F-16A/Bs from a NATO ally (USA, Belgium
or the Netherlands
) to Greece is also being considered; this squadron would then be based at Araxos with the two Corsair units and be dedicated to the NATO strike role. Through the Mid-Life Update program, the aircraft could be brought to a standard more level with the HAF's existing F-16 fleet.