HomeMILITARYGreek Defense Minister on F-35, Turkish UAVs, and Hellenic Navy Armament programs

Greek Defense Minister on F-35, Turkish UAVs, and Hellenic Navy Armament programs

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The Greek Defense Minister, Nikos Panagiotopoulos, gave an interview to the radio station SKAI 100.3, in which, he spoke about the country’s intention to buy F-35s, the defense budget, the possibility of acquiring UAVs and the Hellenic Navy Armament programs.

Greek Defense Minister on F-35, Turkish UAVs, and Hellenic Navy Armament programs
Photo by geetha.mil.gr

When journalist Vassilis Chiotis asked if Greece really needed the F-35 aircraft or if it was only a show of force to Turkey, he replied:

“Shall I tell you something?” We will need them and we will need them for sure, because the F-35 is the fifth generation aircraft that it will be, it has already started to be, in a few years entirely the main fighter jet of NATO member countries.

Greek Defense Minister on F-35, Turkish UAVs, and Hellenic Navy Armament programs
Photo by mod.mil.gr

There have already been quite advanced discussions with Lockheed Martin which is interested in strengthening its relationship with our domestic Defense Industry (Hellenic Aerospace Industry). And therefore I think that sooner or later, of course, it will be the choice of the Greek side.

I have said many times that we are first interested, I remind you that the acceptance of this interest is included in the Blinken letter that accompanied the second modification to the Defense Cooperation Agreement that we passed in Parliament a few days before we left for Washington, along with the Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nikos Dendias, in a debate in Parliament that we all attended days ago.

We wanted to go to Washington with this case over, that is, the Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement passed. To this, then, the second modification was attached the Blinken letter by which the United States recognized the interest of Greece for the F-35.

But these things have a continuity and are procedural and symbolic, in my opinion, and it was critical to leave this visit with United States official consent for our country’s admission into the F-35 program.”

With an occasional question from Notis Papadopoulos on how much money Greece spend on new weapons, the Greek Defense Minister referred to the enormous growth in the defense budget and how it will move in the next years.

“The budget for spending on armaments has risen in two years from 500 million in 2019 and 2020 to 3.5 billion in 2022. But it will not be the same. There will be fluctuations.

In any case, it will be significantly stronger than in the days of the financial difficulties that brought the cost of armaments to 500 million a year with so many needs that over time became more urgent.

For example, the need to replace the old frigates of our Navy, something that was partially achieved with the three “Belharra” frigates but we are not done yet, we have other decisions to make,” Greek Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos said.

Greek Defense Minister on F-35, Turkish UAVs, and Hellenic Navy Armament programs
Photo by Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, CC BY 4.0

In addition, answering whether Greece has plans to acquire drones since Turkey has made significant progress in this area, the Minister of National Defense of Greece stated:

“We’re doing our job, and we’re doing our job in terms of general replies to this area, where Turkey has admittedly made good progress and is performing well in terms of Turkey’s demands. But we do our job.

So I assure you that the General Staffs have prepared their own plans and have taken, so to speak, the initiative needed to get answers to this kind of challenge, the threat if you will, which of course is not the noticeable difference in power correlations.

So do not overestimate the use of drones and UAVs by Turkey as we also take our measures and there is no need to say more words on them.

What I want to say is that at the moment it’s important that Greece is listened to by its Allies, valued and treated with respect by one of our strongest Allies, who is none other than the United States, this emerged from the visit to Washington»

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