At the time when our Air Force is feverishly preparing for the festive events ahead of the feast of the Supreme Brigadier Generals, Michael and Gabriel, who have the Greek “wings” under their umbrella, at the General Staff of Aviation they receive good news regarding the modernization program of the F -16 Block 50.
The Chief of the GEA, Vice Admiral Themistocles Bourolias is well aware that with Turkey persisting in the challenges in the skies of the Archipelago, through dozens of daily violations, the Air Force has no other choice but to continuously reinforce it.
The moves with the acquisition of the top French Rafale fighter jets, the inclusion of our country in the program of the powerful F-35, but also the upgrade to the Viper class of 83 F-16 Block 52+, give our Air Force a clear superiority over the Turkey, which we remind you is unable to obtain even… a screw from the West, because of Erdogan’s policy.
This is not a simple modernization of the Greek fighters, we are talking about the most advanced F-16 in the world, with a vertical upgrade of their combat capability through the powerful radar and AESA technology, the leading ASPIS self-protection system, electronic systems for simultaneous target detection in land, air and sea and of course new weapons that make a difference.
In fact, the information coming from the 343 Squadron “Asteri” of Souda, where the first two “vipers” have been installed, speak of a completely new fighter, with brand new electronic systems, which even the experienced operators and technicians of the HAF analyze in detail to get the most out of them.
The next program that Athens is expected to run is that of the modernization of 38 F-16 block 50 fighters, from the 341 “VELOS” and 347 “PERSEAS” Fighter Squadrons, which will evolve into F-16 block 50+ adv. These are fighters with an age of 23-25 years and consequently the upgrade is considered imperative. Almost all of the quorums provided for in the upgrade plan will come from the 84 F-16 Block52+ and only some additional quorums will need to be purchased.
The extremely important program to strengthen our Air Force, it is true that it “suffered” a bit between the Ministry of Defense, the Parliament and the GDAEE, however, the political and military will and determination to proceed without further delays to the program finally gave the “green light” light” for the LOR (Letter of Request) to finally leave Greece for the USA.
Why was there this delay? The Americans proposed some additional interventions on the F-15 Block 50, such as the installation of an AESA radar, however, such a decision would skyrocket the cost, while at the same time the radar of the F-16 Block 52+ intended for 50s would remain unused. So the program is moving forward as originally planned, with our Air Force now awaiting the LOA from across the Atlantic.
Now the new F-16 Block 50+adv, with the link 16 communication system, will communicate perfectly with the Rafale, Viper and F-35, while at the same time their upgraded radar and armament will bring them one step ahead of the Viper, making them 4th generation aircraft.
The upgrade of the F-16 Block 50 will be carried out at the facilities of the 111th Fighter Wing in Nea Aghialo Magnesia and is estimated to last approximately 6 years, i.e. it will be completed at the same time as that of the 83 VIPER, i.e. in 2027-2028.
The Air Force would also like to upgrade the 32 F-16 Block 30 fighters, however, no specific decision has yet been made on their future. Their condition is of course excellent and of course they can continue to do the “dirty” work of interceptions in the Aegean very comfortably.