Greece eyes up to 40 F-35s in major military expansion, Mitsotakis confirms

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis stated that while Greece could acquire up to 40 F-35s from the United States, initially the country’s financial resources are prepared to purchase just one fleet of F-35s.

Publication: 31.01.2024 - 15:30
Greece eyes up to 40 F-35s in major military expansion, Mitsotakis confirms
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Speaking to Greece's SKAI FM, Mitsotakis discussed current affairs, including Greece's request to purchase F-35 jets from the United States, which Washington views favorably. He highlighted the possibility of Greece receiving certain military equipment for free under the U.S. Excess Defense Articles (EDA) Program.

"We have the option to buy up to 40 F-35s. However, due to the high cost, we won’t be buying all 40 at once. For the first stage, we've secured enough financial resources to purchase one F-35 fleet, with delivery expected by the late 2020s," Mitsotakis said.

"Turkey Has Significant Defense Industry Exports"

Responding to the journalist's reminder that Turkey produces some of its weapons domestically, Mitsotakis acknowledged, "Turkey has significant defense industry exports. On the other hand, we are still trying to make up for past shortcomings."

Mitsotakis referred to the "Athens Declaration on Friendly Relations and Good Neighborliness," signed between Turkey and Greece in December 2023, as a step towards normalizing bilateral relations. He expressed his intention to visit Ankara in May, reciprocating President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's visit to Athens in December 2023.

Recent Developments

Last week, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken informed Mitsotakis in a letter that, subject to Congress approval and other official processes, Greece could purchase up to 40 new F-35s. Additionally, Greece will receive 3 Protector-class coast guard boats, various military trucks, and tractors under the EDA Program.

The letter also mentioned other military vehicles and equipment to be granted to Greece from the U.S. military's inventory under the EDA Program, including 2 C130H military transport planes, engines for 10 P-3 maritime patrol aircraft, and 60 Bradley fighting vehicles.

Blinken noted plans to inform Congress about the potential transfer of 4 excess LCS-class warships from the U.S. Navy to Greece.

The Price of 40 F-35 Fighter Jets Reaches $8.6 Billion

Regarding defense materials Greece could provide or sell to Ukraine, Blinken mentioned that Greece could benefit from up to $200 million under the U.S. foreign military financing program. He added that Greece would be given priority for the possible sale of MRAP military vehicles in 2025 and that they would consider Greece’s needs for KC-135 tanker aircraft when available.

Furthermore, Blinken informed that the U.S. Department of Defense is conducting price and quantity assessments for the C-130J model, in addition to the C-130H military transport aircraft Greece might purchase.

The estimated price for 40 F-35 fighter jets is around $8.6 billion.