Six Dassault Aviation-built Rafale fighter aircraft landed at the Hellenic Air Force’s Tanagra base on January 19 after taking off from the French company’s Istres site.
These are the first six airframes to be delivered to Greece under a contract from January 2021.
Overall, Greece will be receiving 24 fighters under two contracts totaling 3 billion euros ($3.4B), signed in January and September 2021.
As stipulated in the original agreement, France was to hand over the 12 used Rafales in 2021, while the delivery of the new airframes set to start in early 2022.
The arrival of the first batch of six units comes after Greece took delivery its first Rafale in July last year, just six months after the contract signing.
The six Rafales are starting service in the Hellenic Air Force’s 332 Squadron after Greek pilots, mechanics and technicians completed training at the Mérignac Conversion Training Center (CTC) in France.
According to Dassault Aviation, the next batch of fighters is set to be delivered at the end of 2022 with the objective to have all the fleet deployed at Tanagra air base by the summer of 2023.
“The mastery with which the Hellenic Air Force carried out this first ferry flight is a testimony to the excellence of our cooperation and the strength of our historical relationship with Greece for more than 45 years,” said Éric Trappier, Dassault Aviation CEO, at the ceremony.
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.
Accompanying the delivery of fighter jets, French missile specialist MBDA will be supplying 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.