The French Defence Minister expressed the hope that the Hellenic Navy will acquire French ships in the context of the renewal of its fleet
The agreement on Rafale fighters was sealed with the visit of the Minister of Defense of France to Athens, for talks with her counterpart Nikos Panagiotopoulos, at the Pentagon and with the Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis at the Maximos Palace.
The purchase was signed and then the two ministers made joint statements. Mr. Panagiotopoulos stressed that the acquisition of Rafale is a milestone in the defense cooperation and the relations between Greece and France, while he stated that the Hellenic Air Force is significantly strengthened.
“We are”, said N. Panagiotopoulos, “really proud, as never before have negotiations for such complexity been completed so quickly and so methodically”. Referring to the special features of Rafale, mr. Panagiotopoulos stated that “advanced electronic systems (radar sensors, electronic warfare systems, etc.), in combination with their strategic weapons, make them an important factor of air superiority”.
Speaking about the choice of the French fighter, the minister stressed the strategic character of the Greek-French relations, as well as “the full support of France in our country, in the face of challenges and threats”.
“The agreement”, said N. Panagiotopoulos, “confirms a long tradition of excellent relations of cooperation between our countries, both bilaterally and in the context of regional and international organizations. Relations based on solidarity and the strong, timeless and sincere friendship of our countries and peoples, since the time of the Greek Revolution in 1821, and the contribution of the French Philhellenes and France, as a great power, in the national struggle for freedom”.
For her part, Ms. Parley expressed her joy for her presence in Athens and for the fact that Greece is the first European country to acquire this aircraft.
“Our countries share many things”, she added. At the same time, she expressed the hope that the Hellenic Navy will acquire French ships, in the context of the renewal of its fleet. With the signing of the agreement, the relevant procedures are activated, so that the first six of the new fighters will land in Tanagra by the coming July fully operational, with all their weapons load, including the BVR missile, METEOR.
As is well known, the French side intends to offer a multi-role version of the Belh@rra frigate and intermediate solution ships that meet the short-term needs of the Hellenic Navy, probably Lafayette type frigates.
The French Minister of Defense also announced the participation of France in the exercise “Skyros” as well as in the exercise “Iniochos” in April with 8 Rafale aircraft. The French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, as part of its mission in late February, will sail in the Eastern Mediterranean accompanied by a frigate of the Greek Navy.
In his meeting with the French Defence Minister, the Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis stated that the agreement, “opens a new chapter in the long history of military and strategic cooperation between our two countries.
“This agreement will make it possible to further strengthen operational cooperation between our armed forces”, was Florence Parley’s reply.