Greek, French defense ministers sign Rafale jets contract in Athens

National Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos and French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly signed the contract for 18 Rafale fighter jets at the Greek ministry on Monday.

The agreement had been approved by the Greek Parliament.

Following the agreement, which the Greek minister said was completed in record time, both ministers spoke of the strategic nature of Greek-French relations and mentioned the role of deterrence the aircraft will play in the Hellenic Air Force.

“The advanced electronic systems […] of the jets, in tandem with their weapons of strategic nature, make them a significant factor of supremacy in the air,” Panagiotopoulos said. “The agreement confirms a long-standing tradition of excellent collaboration between our countires on bilateral level as well as at the level of regional and international organizations.”

Parly revealed that Greece is the first European country to purchase Rafales, and she said that France will participate in the “Skyros” and “Iniochos” defense exercises with 8 jets of the same type.

The procurement involves 6 new jets and 12 used ones at a total cost of 1.92 billion euros without deductions. The cost of arming the jets with remote-control Meteor missiles and the upgrade of existing ones (Mica, Scalp and Exocet) totals 400 million euros without deductions.

The 6 used aircraft delivery to Greece will start in July 2021, with one delivered per month looking forward. The new ones will be delivered in Spring 2022 and the rest of the used ones in early 2023. The Hellenic Air Force pilots and mechanics to be trained on them will depart for France shortly.