Greece’s Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos visited France on Wednesday to attend the handover ceremony of the first of the 18 Rafale fighter jets that will join the Greek Air Force. Panagiotopoulos is accompanied by the Chief of the Defense General Staff General Konstantinos Floros and the Chief of the Defence General Staff Lieutenant General Georgios Blioumis.
The handover ceremony was held at Dassault Aviation facilities at the airbase in Istres, southern France.
The delivery of the first jet came six months after Greece signed a 2.5 billion euro deal with France to buy 18 Rafale warplanes, 12 of them used.
According toa Dassault statement the first six aircraft will be used to further train the HAF pilots and technicians in Dassault’s conversion training center in Merignac before they are deployed to the Tanagra base near Athens.
“The Rafale will provide the HAF with a latest-generation multirole fighter, enabling the Hellenic Republic to ensure its geostrategic stance in full sovereignty,” Dassault said in a statement.
Greece will receive 18 Rafale fighter jets, 12 used and 6 new ones. The first six used fourth-generation Rafales will be delivered to Greece in 2021 while the six new ones will be delivered in the spring of 2022 and the last six used ones are expected to be delivered to Greece in early 2023.
“The Rafale jets will play an active role by securing Greece’s leadership as a major regional power,” said Dassault chairman and CEO Eric Trappier.