ATHENS --- Following the decision of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to purchase 18 twin-engine French Rafale fighter jets (six new and 12 slightly used), Greece has officially asked Washington for the immediate purchase of the fifth generation American F-35 fighter jet.
The official Letter of Request (LOR) letter from the Department of Defense was sent to the US Government on November 6, reported Proto Thema.
“The decision to enter (Greece) in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program will be based on a variety of factors such as the fighter delivery schedule, the repayment plan, the configuration of the aircraft and a possible combination to obtain a total of 18 to 24 jets (new or used by the US Air Force, if available),” is mentioned in the Letter of Expression of Interest of the Greek Ministry of National Defense dated November 6.
“Your immediate response will be appreciated,” reads the letter from Greece’s Ministry of National Defense, signed by the Director General of Armaments and Investments, Theodoros Lagios.
“Due to internal fiscal arrangements and other applicable rules within the EU budget and deficit framework, it is crucial that the first F-35s are delivered in 2021. For our part, we will do everything possible to implement this ambitious program,” the letter continued. (end of excerpt)
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(EDITOR’S NOTE: Separately, Proto Thema also reported that France is expected to deliver the first used Rafale in January 2021, with the 11 others to follow at a rate of one per month until December.
That however presumes that the contract is signed, and the first down payment is made, by the end of the year. As of last week, Greek media reported that the government had not yet tabled the enabling legislation in Parliament.)