Greece’s acquisition of 18 Dassault Rafale multi-role fighters from France marked a major milestone on January 25 after the nation’s government signed three contracts covering the aircraft order, associated support services and munitions.
The signing of all three contracts took place during a ceremony in Athens, Greece – coming just one month after the Greek government approved the multi-role fighter’s procurement for the Hellenic Air Force (HAF). The first two contracts were signed by Éric Trappier, chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation, and Theodoros Lagios, the director general of Armament and Investments at the Greek Ministry of Defense.
The first contract covers the acquisition of six new-build Rafales from Dassault Aviation, which will be produced in France. Additionally, the order caters for the delivery of 12 recently-manufactured examples, which will be handed over to the HAF as surplus from the French Air and Space Force. To meet the urgent requirement for the platform by the Greek authorities, the first aircraft is scheduled to be delivered this summer, with the final example due to be handed over in 2023.
In addition to the procurement contract, Trappier and Lagios also signed a logistic support contract, which will see Dassault support the air activity of the HAF’s Rafale fleet over a four-and-a-half year period. As part of this contract, the firm will also maintain the availability of equipment and systems relevant to Greek Rafale operations. Greece shares a long history with Dassault, which started when the nation ordered the Mirage F1 in 1974, followed by the Mirage 2000 in 1985 and finally the Mirage 2000-5 in 2000.
In a press release from Dassault Aviation, Trappier was quoted as saying: “Greece is a leading European partner, a major member of NATO and a special partner of France, with which Dassault Aviation has stood steadfastly by its side for more than 45 years. The continuity of our presence in Greece, even in the most difficult times, is a token of the quality of this relationship.”
At the signing event, Lagios inked a third deal with Eric Béranger – the CEO of MBDA – which will see the arms manufacturer provide the relevant armaments for the HAF’s Rafale fleet. In a press release, MBDA confirmed that it will supply SCALP long-range, air-to-surface cruise missiles; AM39 Exocet air-launched anti-ship missiles and MICA multi-mission air-to-air missiles to Greece as part of the deal. Additionally, the company will also deliver Meteor beyond-visual-range air-to-air missiles (BVRAAMs) for employment by the HAF’s Rafale fleet.
In the press release, Béranger said: “The signing of this agreement turns a new page in our relationship with Greece, which we have had for more than half a century. The country was the very first customer of the Exocet missile in 1968, showing great confidence in it and in our predecessor companies. This confidence has been renewed over the years and is being renewed again today. It is our duty to do everything we can in order to continue delivering on this confidence into tomorrow.”