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Rafales boost Greece’s deterrent power

Rafales boost Greece’s deterrent power

The arrival of the first six of 24 advanced fighter jets Greece is acquiring from France will increase the country’s deterrent power and are a clear sign that Greece is “changing and flourishing,” Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said Wednesday.

“The new fighters make our Air Force one of the strongest in Europe and the Mediterranean, and seal the Greek-French defense agreement,” he added in a speech at a ceremony marking the arrival of the new aircraft at Tanagra Air Base, north of the capital, after the jets flew briefly over the Acropolis on their journey from southern France.

“We do not need anyone’s permission to acquire these Rafales,” Mitsotakis said, adding that “while Greece closes the door on any threat, it keeps the windows of dialogue open.”

“[The fighters] are a power multiplier that upgrades our country on a technological and geopolitical level and are a sample of a Greece that is changing defensively and diplomatically,” he said while hailing the defense cooperation and solidarity between Greece and France.

More specifically, he noted that the Rafales will operate together with the new French frigates.

What’s more, he also elaborated on the next steps to strengthen the capabilities of Greece’s armed forces, such as the upcoming inauguration of the International Aviation Training Center in Kalamata, the delivery of torpedoes for Hellenic Navy submarines, as well as the first two maritime strike and anti-submarine MH-60R helicopters.

For his part, France’s Ambassador in Athens Patrick Maisonnave noted the record time from the decision by Greece to include the Rafale in the ranks of its Air Force to their delivery, but also the historical relations of the two countries that stretch back to the Greek Revolution. He further pointed out that France was present in the summer of 2020 on the side of Greece, in what was seen as a reference to the Greek-Turkish standoff triggered by Turkey’s Oruc Reis research vessel in the Aegean.

Dassault Aviation Director-General Eric Trapier emphasized the strategic importance of Greece’s acquisition of the aircraft and referred to the work done by other companies (for radar and weapons), such as Thales, MBDA and Safran.