Greece Confirms Rafale Buy, But Frigate Order May Go to Germany Instead

Greece Confirms Rafale Buy, But Frigate Order May Go to Germany

(Source:; posted Sept. 14, 2020)

Greece will buy 18 Dassault Rafale fighters from France and well as additional weapons including Scalp EG air-launched cruise missiles, but the anticipated order for two FDI-class frigates, for which Greece signed an LoI in October, is apparently not included. (DA photo)

PARIS --- Announcing a major military modernization package on Sept. 12 in Salonika, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis confirmed the expected order for 18 Rafale combat aircraft but did not name the supplier of four – not two, as previously reported – frigates that were also expected to be supplied by France.

Instead of Naval Group’s Belharra-class frigates, it was reported by local media over the week-end that Greece will instead buy four Meko 200 frigates, made by Germany’s ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, which also supplied four older frigates that Greece now plans to upgrade to a similar equipment standard.

There has been no official confirmation that the order will go to Germany, but a spokesman for France’s Naval Group told on Sunday that “Regarding Greece, we have no information on the four frigates.”

If confirmed, this would be a major setback for France, as Greece in October 2019 had signed a Letter of Intent for the acquisition of two Belharra frigates, also known as Frégates de Défense et d’Intervention (FDI). French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly announced signature of the LoI in an October 10 post on her Twitter account.

Germany will also reportedly supply four Type 214 diesel-electric submarines armed with heavyweight torpedoes, whose procurement was authorized by the Greek Parliament during the spring.

“Specifically, Greece will acquire (…/…) 4 new frigates, while refurbishing 4 existing ones; 4 Romeo naval helicopters; antitank weapons for the Army; torpedoes for the Navy and guided missile for its Air Force. It will also add 15,000 professional soldiers to its armed forces over the next five years,” the Greek daily Ekathimerini reported Saturday citing Mitsotakis.

The four “Romeo” helicopters are Sikorsky UH-60R Seahawks, according to Greek news reports.

Mix of new and used Rafales

While the total number of Rafales to be initially bought by Greece has been agreed at 18, the exact split between new and second-hand aircraft remains to be determined. France offered eight new and 10 used, while Greece prefers six new and 12 used so as to reduce costs; details will be finalized during contract negotiations that will continue during the autumn.

The precise split between new and used aircraft will make little difference to France, and new-build replacements for the used aircraft will be tacked on to the remaining orders, providing the French Air Force with additional new-production aircraft while boosting Dassault’s order backlog. The company and its subcontractors are awaiting a French government decision to advance the order of the final Rafale production batch as part of its Covid-19 support package for industry.

The second-hand Rafales will be French Air Force F3-O4T variants, which was delivered to the French forces between late 2012 and 2018, according to the Paris website “Air & Cosmos.” They are fitted with the RBE-2 AESA radar and will be armed with Scalp-EG cruise missiles but not yet with the Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile.

Meteor, however, will equip Greece’s new Rafales, which will be delivered to the current F3-R production standard, and will subsequently no doubt be retrofitted to the second-hand aircraft.

The 18 Rafales will replace the older Greek Air Force Mirage 2000 that have not been modernized, while a second order will probably follow to replace the upgraded and new-build Mirage 2000-5 aircraft that Greece ordered in September 2004.

As we reported in December, Greece modernized its Mirage 2000 fleet for a first time in 2004, upgrading ten of them to the new 2000-5 Mk2 standard, and also ordered 15 additional new-build aircraft to the same Mk 2 standard – the final Mirage 2000s produced.

The Mirage 2000-5 Mk.2s have a more powerful RDY-2 multifunction radar, MICA air-to-air missiles, additional air-to-ground capabilities with the SCALP-EG cruise missiles, a new self-protection system, new inertial navigation (INS) and an in-flight refueling capability using a pod.


Armed Forces Minister Welcomes Greece's Desire to Acquire Rafale

(Source: French Armed Forces Ministry; issued Sept. 12, 2020)

(Unofficial translation by

PARIS --- Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly welcomes the choice announced today by Prime Minister Mitsotakis to acquire 18 Rafale aircraft for the benefit of the Hellenic Air Force.

For the first time a European country wishes to acquire Rafale fighter jets.

This announcement is a success for the French aeronautics industry, in particular Dassault Aviation as well as other French industrial players, and in particular the many SMEs involved in the manufacture of the Rafale.

This choice in favor of a Dassault Aviation combat aircraft, at the cutting edge of world technology, strengthens the link between the Greek and French armed forces, and will allow them to intensify their operational and strategic cooperation.

The decision of the Greek government to acquire Rafale aircraft confirms the success of an export policy resolutely turned towards Europe, as pursued by Minister Florence Parly. France is continuing its action in favor of a stronger, more autonomous and united European defense, in accordance with the strategic orientations set by the President of the Republic.

The coming months should now allow the signing of the contract to acquire Rafale aircraft to be finalized.


Greece and the Rafale

(Source: Dassault Aviation; issued Sept. 12, 2020)

SAINT-CLOUD, France --- Greece announced today its intention to acquire 18 Rafales to equip its air force.

This announcement illustrates the strength of the partnership that has linked the Greek Air Force and Dassault Aviation for more than 45 years, and demonstrates the enduring strategic relationship between Greece and France.

Greece ordered 40 Mirage F1 from Dassault Aviation in 1974, then 40 Mirage 2000 in 1985 and finally 15 Mirage 2000-5 in the year 2000; this latest contract also includes the modernization of 10 Mirage 2000 to the 2000-5 standard with a large contribution from Greek industry.

"I am delighted with this announcement, which reinforces the exceptional relationship we have had with Greece for nearly half a century, and I thank the Greek authorities for their confidence in us once again. Dassault Aviation is fully mobilized to meet the operational needs expressed by the Greek Air Force, and thus contribute to ensuring Greece's sovereignty and the safety of the Greek people," said Eric Trappier, Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation.

With over 10,000 military and civil aircraft delivered in more than 90 countries over the last century, Dassault Aviation has built up expertise recognized worldwide in the design, development, sale and support of all types of aircraft, ranging from the Rafale fighter, to the high-end Falcon family of business jets, military drones and space systems. In 2019, Dassault Aviation reported revenues of €7,3 billion. The company has 12,750 employees.


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