The HAF is set to acquire Rafale aircraft and US-origin F-35 fighter jets that are considered the most advanced warplanes in the world today which boasts of unique stealth technology that can penetrate deep into enemy terrority and take-out defense installations and missile defense systems.
With the growing Turkish belligerence in the region, the Greek Defense Ministry is moving to boost the Hellenic Air Force (HAF) with French-made Rafale fighter jets and US F-35 warplanes besides unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) by 2021, according to reports.
With the addition of additional defense equipment, the HAF will have access to equipment and technologies from three different countries, the United States, France, and Israel.
According to media reports quoting key sources in the ministry, Defense Minister Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos already has a proposal ready for the US to acquire the most powerful fighter jets on the planet – the F-35s which Greece could obtain by 2021.
According to reports, Greece looks to have at least twenty-four F-35 jets in its Air Force.
The report adds – for the French Rafale jets, the matter is expected to come to the Parliament in December. Meanwhile, the first six used aircraft are expected within the first half of 2021.
The situation in the eastern Mediterranean has been tense with Turkey and Greece involved in a dispute over energy exploration rights and maritime boundaries in the area. The two neighbors have been squabbling over military games in the region despite both being part of the NATO alliance.
Turkish President Erdogan’s plans to install the high-end Russian S-400 air defense system in the country has further complicated the situation. Greece’s Minister of Defense Nikos Panagiotopoulos was quoted by a news agency as saying the decision was enough to prove that potentially Turkey, whether it wanted to or inadvertently, would prove to be a source of “undermining NATO’s cohesion from within.”
He added that if nothing was done, then Turkey’s leaders have all the right to believe that “they can go on uninhibited, demonstrating that type of hostile and confrontational behavior that threatens stability in the whole region.” He said that deployment of the Russian system will be “too much of an aggressive move” on part of Turkey.