|Dassault Rafale multirole combat aircraft.|
According to Pentapostagma, Greece is close to finalizing a deal with France to acquire Rafale combat aircraft. Such an introduction would aim to contain Turkey, which is moving aggressively in both the Aegean and the eastern Mediterranean.
The Greek media outlet says the acquisition of the Rafale fighters has been in the Hellenic Air Force's plan for a long time as the Defense is attracted to the modern technologies and strategic attack weapons of the French fourth-generation aircraft.
According to several Greek and French sources, French firm Dassault is in the process of sending an official offer to Athens for 10 new Rafales in the latest variant. The deal should then be closed soon, by 2020.
Although no decision has yet been made, there appears to be an initial informal high-level agreement between the Greek and French governments. In addition to the 10 new Rafales, the French Air Force will offer Greece 8 second-hand Rafale aircraft in the basic variant.
The 10 Greek Rafales would join the ongoing production of Egypt's 20 aircraft, but as Dassault would have difficulty producing all 30 aircraft in a short time, it is considering reaching an agreement with Egypt to supply them with an initial batch of 10 aircraft and deliver the other 10 to Greece.
The Hellenic Air Force already has a long experience with French-made aircraft as its fleet has included the Mirage 2000 for over 30 years. It should facilitate the transition of the Greek combat pilots to the Rafale.
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Written by Matteo Sanzani