Greece signed and sent to the U.S. a Letter of Request (LoR) for the supply and purchase of 20 F-35 fighter jets, plus 20 options.
As previously announced by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis during his recent trip to Washington, Greece will seek to equip itself with the American 5th generation stealth fighter.
As reported by CNN Greece, Greek Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos’ trip to the United States is scheduled for July 18, to initiate relevant talks with the U.S. side, for the purchase of the fighters.
This announcement comes just days after Ankara lifted the veto preventing Sweden and Finland from formally joining NATO.
F-35, to maintain balance in the Aegean Sea
Greece has been looking to acquire F-35s for some time to counterbalance Turkey’s (Türkiye) military power in the Aegean Sea. Statements had even surfaced that the Greeks wanted to keep the Lightning II fighters that were originally to be delivered to the Turkish Air Force.
If the response to the LoR is positive, negotiations on availability, cost, and delivery schedule, between Washington and Athens, could last a year.
Once this stage is passed, the procedures to conclude the agreement will begin, including aspects such as industrial offset, training of pilots and technical personnel, infrastructure works to accommodate the new fighters, etc. If all goes well and there are no delays, Greek sources are confident that the Hellenic Air Force (HAF) could be receiving its first F-35s in 2028.
The acquisition of the F-35 is part of the efforts being made by the Greek State to modernize and strengthen its Air Force, such as the purchase of 24 Rafale fighters from France and the modernization of 83 F-16 block 52+ fighters to the Viper variant (modernization also sought by Turkey), which will bring them to the same level as the Block 70.