Lockheed Martin announced that it will launch the upgrade of 85 Greek F16 fighter jets to the Block 70/72 Viper configuration next Monday.
While the value of the contract was not mentioned, an earlier US DoD announcement of a foreign military sale approval of F-16 upgrade to Greece had quoted a figure of US$ 2.404 billion.
The company’s VP Business Development Initiatives in Europe Dennys Plessas said during a press conference yesterday in Athens that “a great part of the upgrade will take place in Greece.”
The first two years will be spent on engineering for the prototype and the registration of the systems. The installation on Greek fighter jets will take place during the third year of the program, and the Hellenic Airforce pilots will be trained in the fourth year. The training is anticipated to be brief, as he said, because of the expertise of Greek fighter pilots.
The upgrade of the 85 warplanes to Vipers “will provide the Hellenic Airforce with an entirely new aircraft, as the only element we shall keep is the fuselage,” Plessas said. He added that the F-16s and the fifth-generation F-22 and F-35 share some technology, including the new radars to be installed (digital sweeping model APG83).
In October 2017, the US state department had approved a US$2.4 billion project to upgrade Greek F-16s to the Block 70/72 Viper configuration which among other enhancements includes an APG-83 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar that significantly enhances the aircraft’s ability to identify and engage enemy aircraft.