The Hellenic Air Force (HAF) has taken delivery of its first Rafale fighter aircraft from Dassault Aviation in a ceremony at the company’s flight test center in Istres.
Delivery of the first of 18 airframes to Greece has been made possible by the fact that 12 of the 18 aircraft are being transferred from the French Air Force.
The first six used Rafales are scheduled to be handed over in one-month intervals, while the new airframes are to be delivered in early 2022.
Finally, the last six used Rafales will be handed over in early 2023.
This first aircraft, as well as the next five to come from the French Space and Air Force, will train the HAF pilots and technicians in France before deploying to Tanagra air force base in Greece.
“Following the Mirage F1 in 1974, the Mirage 2000 in 1985 and the Mirage 2000-5 in 2000, the Rafale is now proudly flying with the Hellenic Air Force colors. The Rafale is a strategic game changer for the HAF. It will play an active role by securing Greece’s leadership as a major regional power,” said Dassault Aviation CEO Eric Trappier.
Greece and France inked the $3 billion agreement for the 18 Rafales in January this year. MBDA will be delivering Scalp cruise missiles, AM39 Exocet anti-ship missiles, MICA multi-mission air-to-air missiles and Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missiles for the Greek aircraft.
Shortly after France and Greece signed contracts for the sale, the French Air Force announced an order for 12 airframes to replace the ones sold to Greece. Dassault will be responsible for delivering these by 2025.