The Minister for National Defence of Greece, Mr. Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos, responded yesterday, Friday, November 19, 2021, to a question by Alexis Tsipras and 85 MPs of the SYRIZA Parliamentary Group on the subject: “Why did you sign with a provocative increase in costs – even compared to your initial calculations – the Agreement for the International Air Training Center of the Hellenic Air Force in Kalamata”.
“So let’s see them from the beginning: What is the impasse.” said the Minister, Nikos Panagiotopoulos. “The problem is old and is the training of the Cadets in the flying object, and especially at the level of advanced training, that is, the one with the new jet.
The T-2 training we have is in the ’70s. The corresponding Third Generation jets that we purchased at the time were the “Phantom”, the “Mirage F-1” and the “A7 – Corsair” that does not exist in operation, and correspond to third-generation aircraft,”
the Minister for National Defence of Greece said, adding, among other things:
“The fact that in 2021 the training of the Air Force men is done with three third-generation aircraft, when we are preparing and discussing possibly the procurement of a Fifth Generation F-35 aircraft – at some point we will enter this discussion – while we are already using aircraft somewhere between the Fourth and fifth generations, the F-16s especially with their upgrade to “Viper”, but also the “Rafale” that we purchased, it is outrageous in itself.
We have a very old aircraft to deal with the training subject that has to meet the requirements of technologically much more advanced aircraft. Especially when in a year and a half from now the life of the T-2 aircraft expires From the second half of 2023, there will be neither spare parts nor support.
It is characteristic that in the five years of SYRIZA’s rule, the only new armament that ran was the 500 million euro program for the procurement of Naval Cooperation Aircraft, when already now after 6-7 years this work can be done with both drones and UAVs, but these were your priorities, what to do. But that is another debate perhaps for another time, not now.
I am finishing because I have lingered for a long time. A huge effort is underway in the country’s National Defence. The aim is to shield Greece against any threat, of course, and against an existing threat from the east. This effort has a huge financial cost, but it also has an incalculable National benefit and we must take this into account.
Greece, therefore, strengthens its Armed Forces, increases its deterrent power, builds alliances, equips itself with defense agreements with friendly and allied countries, acquires a strong strengthened geopolitical support, stands up, shields itself.
Armed Forces are not just the “Rafale” and the frigates, it’s not just the means and platforms. The Armed Forces are the investment in manpower. This manpower we come to strengthen by ensuring that the training of the Hellenic Air Force, one of the best Air Forces in the world, will have a future and will not end in 18 months from now.” the Minister for National Defence of Greece Nikos Panagiotopoulos concluded.
We remind you, that on Friday, April 16, 2021, Mr. Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos, the General Director of the GDDIA, Lieutenant General Theodoros Lagios, and the Director of International Defense Cooperation of the Ministry of Defense of Israel, Brigadier General Yair Kulas, signed a Defense Interstate Agreement between Greece and the State of Israel for the establishment of an International Flight Training Center at the 120 Hellenic Air Training Wing.
The agreement provides a long-awaited answer to the challenge of training air force officers with sufficient flight hours and cutting-edge training equipment, while also significantly strengthening Greece-Israel strategic collaboration.
GEOPOLITIKI.COM with information from mod.mil.gr