The Prime Minister of Greece Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced that the country will acquire 18 Rafale fighter jets from France besides other major military equipment as friction with Turkey mounts.
Greece ordered 40 Mirage F1 from Dassault Aviation in 1974, then 40 Mirage 2000 in 1985 and finally 15 Mirage 2000-5 in the year 2000.
This latest contract also covers modernization of 10 Mirage 2000 to the 2000-5 standard with a large contribution from Greek industry.
The Greek PM on Saturday revealed that the Greek Navy will get four new helicopters and four frigates. Another four frigates currently used by the service will be refurbished. Also on the cards are procurement of anti-tank weapons, torpedoes and guided missiles.
Last month Greek-based Pentapostagma reported that the two parties reached an agreement for Greece to buy 18 Rafales of which 10 would be bought while the remaining would be given away as “donation.” The “gifted” jets would be second-hand ones used by the French Air Force while the purchased fighters will come from the stock being built for the Egyptian Air Force.
The conflict can be traced back four decades ago. In July 1974, Turkey invaded Cyprus in order to crush a military coup backed by Greece. Ever since then, it continues to lay claim to the breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, a de facto state situated in the north-eastern portion of the island. Turkey demands authority over and a share of revenue generating from the gas reserves for the Turkish Cypriots.
On the other hand, Greece supports Republic of Cyprus and insists on Turkish Cypriots getting their share of the revenue only after the reunification of the island.
Turkey resumed energy exploration in the disputed Eastern Mediterranean Sea earlier this month after Greece and Egypt signed the controversial EastMed Oil Pipeline Project.