“The F-35s are being prepared for Greece”

General Konstantinos Floros, the Head of GETHA, sent the message – The joint training of Greek forces with American F-35s and F-15s shows that the preparation for the 5th generation fighters has already begun

OF MANOS CHARALAMPAKI – SOURCE: THE NEWS – [Μετατροπή σε κείμενο: ]

F-35 is loading for Greece”. With this characteristic phrase, yesterday from Souda, the Chief of GEETHA, General Konstantinos Floros, sent the message that the Air Force and the Armed Forces have entered the era of the F-35 for good.

The stealth fighters that Greece will acquire are expected to arrive towards the end of the decade. But the Poseidon’s Rage exercise taking place these days in Souda, that is the joint training of Greek forces with American F-35s and F-15s, shows that the preparation for the 5th generation fighters has already begun.

Yesterday the activities of the day of distinguished visitors (DV-DAY) of the bilateral cross-branch exercise Greece – USA “Poseidon’s Rage 22”, at the headquarters of the 115 AM, at the air base of Souda, were attended by, among others, the Deputy Minister of Defense Nikos Hardalias, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias, GEETHA Chief General Konstantinos Floros and US Ambassador to Greece George Tsounis. Visitors had the opportunity to see F-35s up close in a static display. And of course both the political and military leadership referred to the very high level of Greek-American relations and the F-35.

Nikos Dendias pointed out that the presence of the ministers and the Chiefs of the Armed Forces as well as the US ambassador in Chania sends a clear message that “the US and the Hellenic Republic stand together against revisionism”, implying Turkey and the escalating provocative behavior her. The USA and Greece are together, he added, “against anything that threatens the national sovereignty, the territorial integrity of the countries”. Referring to the important exercise, the Foreign Secretary stressed that “it was the first live-fire training of F-35s in Europe – as well as the first deployment of an entire squadron to another base. This is particularly important as more and more European allies choose the F-35 fighter jet for their own air forces, including us, Greece.” And he expressed the hope “to see as soon as possible American F-35s training together with Greek F-35s”.

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Deputy Defense Minister Nikos Hardalias described the “alliance between Greece and the USA” as a cornerstone for stability in the entire Eastern Mediterranean region. He also made special reference to the acquisition of the F-35 and the importance of the Greece-US cooperation, underlining that “the agreed upgrade of a significant number of Greek F-16 fighter aircraft to the Viper version and the imminent supply of the F-35 fighter aircraft, this emblematic cooperation between the American and Greek defense industries, will place the Greek Air Force among the most advanced in Europe.”

NEW LANDMARK. It should be noted that the day before yesterday, the F-35s were at the center of the discussion that Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos had with his American counterpart, Lloyd Austin, at the Pentagon in Washington. The acquisition of the 5th generation F-35 fighter jets by Greece, noted Mr. Panagiotopoulos, “is a new milestone in the strategic cooperation of the two countries, which will contribute to the country’s deterrence capability and the closer cooperation and interoperability of the Greek Armed Forces and USA”.

In fact, Nikos Panagiotopoulos is scheduled to visit the F-35 manufacturing plant in Fort Worth, Texas, where he will receive detailed and thorough information about the 5th generation fighters from American pilots.

Yesterday, moreover, the Minister of Defense met with the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the US Senate, Bob Menendez, with whom he also discussed the developments in the issue of the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey.

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