March 9, 2000 (by Lieven Dewitte) - The governments of Greece and the United States signed a Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LoA) today providing for Greece's purchase of 50 new Lockheed Martin F-16 aircraft. The agreement reaffirms Greece's selection of the upgraded F-16 block 50+ as its new fighter in spring of 1999.
The F-16 block 50
+ was selected after a long and intense international competition that included the F-15E, Mirage 2000, Eurofighter and Sukhoi 27.
The total sales package including the aircraft, mission equipment and support provisions is worth about $2.1 billion to Lockheed Martin and various suppliers. The agreement includes an option for Greece
to purchase 10 additional F-16 aircraft.
The current purchase by the Hellenic Air Force
is the third acquisition of the F-16 aircraft by the Government of Greece. The first was in 1986 while the second buy was in 1992. The previous procurements were for 40 aircraft.
In the current order, Greece is acquiring an advanced version of the F-16 with new equipment, including conformal fuel tanks for extended aircraft range and an upgraded version of the Northrop Grumman F-16 radar, designated the APG-68(V)XM. Final engine selection between the General Electric F110-GE
-129 and the Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-229 will be made within the next 45 days.
Deliveries of the new aircraft will begin approximately 30 months after LoA
signature and continue about two years. The sale will extend F-16 production at Lockheed Martin's Fort Worth, Texas, facility well into the 21st century, when combined with the additional F-16s on order for Israel
and the United States Air Force and the recently signed contract with the United Arab Emirates
. Other countries are also considering new orders.