1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites
An F-16 fighter jet of the Pakistan Air Force
Image: picture alliance/AP Photo/A. Naveed
Politics

Greece to upgrade its US F-16 military jets

April 29, 2018

The approval came in a meeting of senior Greek military and government officials led by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. The F-16s are often scrambled to confront Turkish planes over disputed air space in the Aegean.

https://p.dw.com/p/2wrkt

The plan to upgrade more than half of the Greek F-16 fighter jet fleet was approved during a special meeting of the government's Council on Foreign Policy and Defense (KYSEA) chaired by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras at the weekend, the PM's office said.

"The council unanimously approved the implementation of the 85-plane upgrade program," according to Tsipras' office.

Greece has 150 F-16 jets, some of which are nearly 30 years old. The upgraded planes will have capabilities similar to the much more advanced F-35 fighters, minus stealth technology.

The price tag is expected to top out at $1.45 billion (1.2-billion-euros).

The deal was originally announced last October during Tsipras' visit to Washington. But he quickly came under fire over the price tag, estimated then at $2.4 billion over 10 years. According to Defense Minister Panos Kammenos, the US had accepted a revised proposal, taking into account Greece's situation as it works through bailouts from the EU and the International Monetary Fund.

The upgrade is expected to run until 2028, with a $146 million cap on annual payments through 2021, due to Greece's bailout obligations.

The US ambassador to Greece, Geoffrey Pyatt, welcomed the announcement via Twitter:

Engagements over the Aegean

The first plane could be delivered as early as 2020, with much of the work being undertaken by EAV, a Greek state defense contractor, the daily Greek newspaper Ta Nea reported.

Greek fighter jets see considerable action over the Aegean Sea. They are frequently dispatched to intercept Turkish jets encroaching on what Athens considers Greek airspace.  

Read more: Erdogan's prickly visit to Greece

Officials in Ankara recently issued statements disputing Greek claims of sovereignty over a number of islets close to Turkey's Aegean shoreline.

Greek officials have attributed Turkey's rhetoric to presidential and parliamentary elections being held in June.

Greece's latest military buildup also includes plans to buy a pair of French frigates, according to Defense Minister Kammenos.

Due to the ongoing tensions with Turkey, Greece is one of the few NATO countries that meets the alliance's requirement for military spending. Athens allots more than 2 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) for defense.

Read more: Greece reels from austerity

bik/jm (dpa, AFP, AP)

Each evening at 1830 UTC, DW's editors send out a selection of the day's hard news and quality feature journalism. You can sign up to receive it directly here.

Skip next section Explore more
Skip next section Related topics
Skip next section DW's Top Story

DW's Top Story

Police and protesters are pictured during some clashes in Shanghai on November 27, 2022

China anti-lockdown protesters call for Xi to step down

Skip next section More stories from DW
Go to homepage