Monday, March 8, 2021

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Greek Parliament Approves Rafale Fighter Jet Deal From France

The much-speculated deal between France and Greece for Rafale fighter jets is expected to be signed soon. The Greek lawmakers have given a nod for the purchase of 18 Dassault-made Rafale jets from France for 2.5 billion euros ($3.04 billion).

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The deal would be signed later this month by the defense ministers of both countries. Greece would be acquiring six new and 12 used Rafale jets with first deliveries expected during the first half of the year, the government has said.

Greece is joining India, Qatar, and Egypt in purchasing Rafale fighter jets. As reported earlier by the EurAsian Times, about 6-8 pilots of the Air Force will go to France for training and will be seen in Greece by mid-2021.

A twin-engine canard delta wing multirole fighter is built by the French company Dassault Aviation. The 4.5 generation aircraft is capable of performing air supremacy, interdiction, aerial reconnaissance, ground support, and deep strike missions with the capability to launch air-launched cruise missiles (ALCMs).

Athens has been planning to beef-up its military capability amid a flaring dispute with neighboring Turkey over energy resources in the Mediterranean. France has lent a helping hand to Greece in the dispute.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ conservative government has expressed interest in investing in the armed forces, increasing personnel, acquiring new frigates, helicopters, and drones, and upgrading its existing fleet of F-16 fighters.

Mitsotakis told media that the Greek parliament would be voting on a bill extending Greece’s western territorial waters in the Ionian Sea to 12 nautical miles from six.

Athens has claimed that it reserves the right under international law to a 12-mile maritime limit across its whole territory. The said bill will not directly affect the eastern and southern Aegean, where Greece and Turkey have competing claims.

Turkey has warned that it would regard such a claim in the Aegean as a “casus belli” or reason for war, Reuters reported. Amid heightened tensions and to avoid conflict, the officials from both the countries would be meeting on 25 January for talks.

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