Greece set for Dassault Rafale purchase

Greece announced on September 12 that it intends to procure 18 Dassault Rafale multi-role fighters as part of the government’s plans to strengthen its national military.

The announcement was made at the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) by Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, before being followed up by a statement from Dassault Aviation the same day. Alongside the Rafales – which are destined for the Hellenic Air Force (HAF) – and the Mirage 2000 modernisation, the nation will procure four new frigates and recruit 15,000 new military personnel. Greece has a long history with Dassault, which started when the nation ordered 40 Mirage F1s in 1974, followed by 40 Mirage 2000s in 1985 and 15 Mirage 2000-5s in 2000.

Rafale B [Dassault Aviation]
The Rafale is already in operational service with four nations, comprising Egypt, France, India and Qatar. Greece's procurement of the delta-wing multi-role fighter will make it the fifth nation to operate the platform. Dassault Aviation

Eric Trappier, chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation said: “I am delighted with this announcement, which reinforces the exceptional relationship we have had with Greece for nearly a century, and I thank the Greek authorities for their confidence in us once again.

“Dassault Aviation is fully mobilised to meet the operational needs expressed by the [HAF], and thus contribute to ensuring Greece’s sovereignty and the safety of the Greek people,” he added.

AirForces Intelligence data states that, as of September 14, the HAF currently operates 19 single-seat Dassault Mirage 2000-5EGs and five two-seat Mirage 2000-5BGs in a primary air defence role. This is complemented by two Mirage 2000BGs and 15 Mirage 2000EGs. The HAF also operates an ageing fleet of 34 McDonnell Douglas F-4E (AUP) Phantom IIs and more than 100 Lockheed Martin F-16C/D (Block 30/50/52+) Fighting Falcons.

In December 2018, Lockheed Martin was awarded a US$996.8m contract to upgrade 84 Greek F-16C/D Block 52+ Fighting Falcons to F-16V-standard – the latest and most advanced variant of the multi-role fighter. Upgrade work will take place in Fort Worth, Texas, and Athens, Greece, and is expected to be completed by June 2027.

Greece announced its intention to acquire 24 Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning IIs in January 2019, but the nation has yet to officially sign a letter of offer and acceptance (LOA) for the platform.