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Greece confirms intent to buy French Rafale fighters

Rafale fighter jet
Photo: Dassault Aviation

Greece intends to buy 18 Rafale fighter jets to equip its air force, the country’s prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, said on Saturday.

Mitsotakis said Greece is looking to 18 Rafale aircraft developed by French aerospace specialist Dassault Aviation.

A Reuters report also said that Greece intends to buy four frigates. It is not clear whether those would be the larger FREMM frigates or the smaller FDI (Frégates de taille intermédiaire or intermediate size frigates in English). Previous rumors that France would lease the final two FREMM frigates Naval Group is building for the French Navy have been disputed.

Welcoming the announcement, Dassault Aviation noted that the deal would continue a 45-year partnership, since Greece ordered 40 Mirage F1 from Dassault Aviation in 1974, then 40 Mirage 2000 aircraft in 1985 and finally 15 Mirage 2000-5 in the year 2000.

According to company, this latest contract also includes the modernization of 10 Mirage 2000 to the 2000-5 standard with a large contribution from Greek industry.

French defense minister Florence Parly said the represent the first time a European country has selected Rafale fighter.

“The months ahead should make it possible to finalize the signature of the contract for the acquisition of Rafale aircraft,” Parly said.

“I am delighted with this announcement, which reinforces the exceptional relationship we have had with Greece for nearly half a century, and I thank the Greek authorities for their confidence in us once again,” said Eric Trappier, chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation.