Greece has plans to lease two ‘Heron’ surveillance UAVs from Israel to bolster its intelligence gathering abilities during its current ‘cold’ conflict with Turkey.
Local media, Tanea.gr reported that an agreement to this effect had been concluded in the recent past. It is not known when the drones would arrive in Greece or where they would be deployed. However the reason for entering into a lease deal as opposed to a purchase is to ensure quick deployment besides cost savings.
The Greek armed forces are said to concerned at the use of Turkish drones in urkey has developed such in Evros and the Aegean. Turkey has both surveillance and combat drones such as the Bayratkar and Anka.
Greek armed forces are also looking at buying foreign-made drones and a recent European demonstration of the General Atomics (GA) MQ-9 Sky Guardian drone in Larissa, Greece. However, the high cost of drone is said to be a deterrent.
In November 2019, GA had announced that the Hellenic Air Force (HAF) will conduct a series of demonstration flights of MQ-9 drones to showcase its surveillance and drone countermeasures capabilities to the European countries.
“Flights will base out of the HAF’s site in Larissa and use a MQ-9 Guardian Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) to showcase maritime surveillance capabilities, as well as a Detect and Avoid (DAA) system that enables RPA to fly safely in civil airspace alongside manned aircraft,” General Atomics said in a statement.
In recent weeks, Greece has accused Turkey of ‘shepherding’ thousands of illegal migrants to the greek border. Greece has said it needs surveillance drones to spot migrant convoys early and detain them. In addition the two countries are at each other over maritime jurisdiction and hydrocarbon drilling in the Aegean sea.