The acquisition by the Hellenic Air Force of the French Rafale fighter jets will be completed within the next three years. The first six top-notch jets will be available by the end of 2021, the next six by the end of 2022 and, eventually, in the summer of 2023 the Hellenic Air Force expects to have a total of 18 Rafale fighter jets at its disposal.

The details of the negotiations and all the required procedures will be the focal point of tomorrow’s meeting of the special standing committee on armaments programs and contracts in Parliament.

Four pilots of the Hellenic Air Force will be the first ones to go to France at the beginning of the new year in order to receive their fighter jet training.

The timeline of the agreement

Already earlier this year, in September, during the presentation of government priorities in the TIF Forum in Thessaloniki, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced measures for the direct reinforcement of the Armed Forces, concerning both manpower and military equipment, through the purchase and upgrade of armaments systems and the modernization of the Hellenic Defense Industry.

In this context, the Prime Minister announced that the Air Force will proceed immediately with the acquisition of a squadron of 18 Rafale jets, replacing the old Mirage ones.

Three months later, the pledge of Kyriakos Mitsotakis comes into being with coordinated and targeted actions, as the acquisition of the fighter jets is a complex and sizeable armaments program.

In order for this to happen, the Minister of National Defence, Nikos Panagiotopoulos, had successive extensive talks with the French Minister of Defence, Mrs. Florence Parly.

In parallel, the competent authorities approved the purchase of 18 Rafale jets. Of these, six ( two two-seater and four single-seater jets) will be new while twelve will be used (two two-seater and ten single-seater jets).

The jets will be purchased from the French Air Force, along with the necessary weapons, support equipment, spare parts, and follow-on support services.

Costs and equipment

The total cost of the aircraft amounts to €1.92 billion for the 18 jets and €400 million for their armaments.

Aircraft armaments include Meteor guided missiles, as well as the necessary upgrades to existing missiles – Mica, Scalp, and Exocet – in order for them to be used by the new jets.

Greece is purchasing both new and used Rafale jets, based on their possible immediate delivery, in order to greatly increase, in a short amount of time, the operational capability of the Air Force.

This way, at the same time, the costs are reduced significantly in order to allow for the allocation of resources to other necessary weapons systems of the three branches of the Armed Forces.

The “identity” of the Rafale fighter jets

The Rafale is a multirole combat aircraft, capable of performing a variety of missions simultaneously.

It is a top-notch and battleworthy masterpiece of the European defence industry.

The Rafale jets are able to carry the special weapons that already exist in the Greek arsenal, without the need for new investments in infrastructure and technical capabilities.

Timeline

The first six used aircraft will be delivered to the Hellenic Air Force six months after the signing of the respective contract, in June 2021. The arrival rate will be one per month. Six new aircraft will be delivered 20 months after the signing of the contract, also at a rate of one per month. The last six used Rafale jets will be delivered 26 months after the signing of the contract.

It is worth to note that the French side met the requirements of the Hellenic Air Force, regarding the condition of the used aircraft.

Along with this, the manufacturer Dassault provides the guarantee of their good operation.