The Hellenic Air Force will be receiving an additional six Rafale fighter jets, the French defense minister confirmed on Sunday.
The additional order will bring the number of Rafales in the Hellenic Air Force to 24.
Greece placed an order for the 18 fighters in January this year and received the first aircraft just six months later, on July 21. The rapid delivery was achievable due to the fact that 12 of the 18 aircraft ordered under $3 billion agreement are being transferred as used airframes from the French Air Force.
France, in turn, ordered 12 newbuild airframes, to replace the aircraft that will be handed over to Greece.
It is yet unclear whether the additional six fighters will be newbuilds or transferred from the French Air Force.
In a social media statement, French defense minister Florence Parly shared the “excellent news,” confirming that Greece announced its intention to acquire 6 additional Rafales.
The statement from Parly followed a hint from her Greek counterpart, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who spoke during the Thessaloniki International Fair on Saturday, saying that Greece would soon have 24 Rafale aircraft on order.
The Rafale is an “omnirole” aircraft that can perform a multitude of missions, ranging from air-to-air combat, through maritime strike to nuclear deterrence using the ASMP-A nuclear air-launched cruise missile.
Rafale entered service with the French Navy in 2004 and with the French Air and Space Force (FASF) in 2006, gradually replacing the seven types of previous-generation combat aircraft.