Greece is not currently considering the purchase of stealth aircraft for the Hellenic Air Force since the cost would be excessively high, Alternate Defence Minister Dimitris Vitsas clarified on Friday, talking to Skai radio.
The minister noted that a single stealth aircraft cost 100 million euros, while this amount had to be multiplied by five to take into account the cost of maintenance and support infrastructure. “Maybe in 2025,” Vitsas added.
What was currently underway, the minister said, was a programme to upgrade the present fleet of aircrat and other weapons systems, with a bduget of around 475 million euros a year for about 10 years. A request to this effect has been sent to the U.S. government, he added.
Vitsas explained that there were various scenarios for upgrading the fleet and that the government had requested details about the cost, the time involved and the offset benefits for Greek industry. The reply from the U.S. government was expected at the end of spring, he said.
“There is a necessity, the potential threat to Greece exists – I do not want to overdramatise things but it exists. Therefore, there is a need for defensive protection,” he added, pointing out that Greece was in an area of “multiple tensions”.
Commenting on the press reports about a possible “incident” involving Turkey in Cyprus’ territorial waters, Vitsas said there was no information in support of this and pointed to the denial issued by Cyprus’ government.