“Fine print” of deal with USA for F35

A deal with the US for a “free” package of F35 fighter jets and military hardware It has “fine print”.Despite the government's celebrations.

In an interview on SKAI radio, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis underlined his participation in the F35 program. Greece's aviation superiority in terms of quality is assured.

He pointed out that the Blinken letter was proof of that The United States sees Greece as a factor of stability in the southeastern Mediterranean. While Turkey was set to receive the first six of 100 F-35s in 2019, it is now receiving only F16s.

However, Mr. Erdogan said the reason for the US suspension of defense supplies to Turkey was Erdogan's decision to buy the Russian S400. Mitsotakis agreed. He also implicitly but clearly agreed The contract for supply of F35 from our country is still not concluded.

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In particular, pending final negotiations on specific combatant-carried weapons systems, an apparently critical component of the final defense and economic bill. That's why, Turkish media reported. Greece has advanced in principle to a 9 billion contract for the F35Turkey will pay 23 billion euros for the previous generation F16.

Asked about the cost of F35 supply, Mr. Mitsotakis replied: “We always treat the numbers with caution. The final delivery has not yet been determined by the Ministry of National Defense. We have the capacity to buy 40 F35s. We will not buy them all at once. With the receipt from the end of the decade, there is financial space for a squadron in the first phase”.

The Prime Minister also suggested: “A little patience for final negotiations”. He added that the cost of the F35 is increasing due to rising material costs, while on the other hand it is decreasing as more aircraft are produced:

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“We are interested not only in aircraft but also in weapon systems and providing continuous support so that the weapon systems do not wear out. I have given first priority to the new leadership of Geetha. First let's make sure what work we have.”

Mr. Mitsotakis added: “The aircraft is as important as the weapon systems that go with it. When we got the Rafale fighters, it was important to get the interstellar missiles that go with them. A similar discussion will take place for the F35.”

Because LCS battleships aren't completely free

The Prime Minister also touched on the package of military hardware from the US stockpile along with the F35 deal.

Characteristic of LCS warships “Modern ships with relatively limited resources will become vessels that meet the needs of the Navy”.

As he commented: “Whatever we get for free, we have to make up for the costs.”

Behind the lines of this statement is the truth Battleships aren't exactly… free. As the ships in question are unsuitable for Greece's naval defense in the Aegean against Turkey, it will be needed as a plan to make the necessary changes.

LCS frigates are specifically designed for U.S. naval operations against asymmetric threats in the Persian Gulf and Red Sea. That means handling smaller and faster boats Not large ships in “unconventional” operations and tactical maritime warfare environments.

In fact, they lacked a significant ability to defend against air and assault They are less capable of dealing with submarine attacks.

Ships also need captains

But there is one issue that the Prime Minister has not touched upon. And that's about it In a wave of resignations of naval officers.

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It is worth recalling the recent reported mass resignations on the Navy's Hydra warship participating in the “Prosperity Guardian” mission in the Red Sea after Houthi attacks in the region.

But this phenomenon is not isolated and cases of resignations in the Navy are said to be related to highly trained executives having better offers from the private sector.

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Mr. Mitsotakis generally noted the support of the armed forces administration. He recalled that in the case of F35, the flying allowance is no longer taxable. However, it is worth noting so far Fleet allowance is still taxable.

The Prime Minister also stressed that the participation of the Greek Defense Ministry in future weapons programs should be increased. He declared that the relevant intervention of the Minister of National Defense, Nicos Dentias, was crucial. Co-production of US Starships at Greek shipyards is being considered.

“We have restructured the shipyards in Skaramanka and Elefsina. So it is inconceivable that Greece has not requested the possibility of co-production”Mr. Mitsotakis said.

“Turkey has a very important export security sector. We are still running to cover the loopholes and vulnerabilities of the past. We have done it in shipyards, we are doing it in ODA, and we are looking forward to the future: drones, ships and submarines”, he added.

“To secure good weather with Turkey”

At the same time, the government is asked to strike a balance between the celebrations for F35 and the politics of the Greek-Turkish dialogue.

Mr. Mitsotakis emphasized that: “In the context of developments, to secure a good climate with Turkey”.

He also commented: “Looking back at the discussions, the analysis from both sides about the planes, the ships. The climate suggests conflict. Don't forget that we took a very important step in Greek-Turkish reconciliation”.

When dividing Greece's duty to maintain a “Quality Preventive Benefit” As he pointed out, from the progress made in the general context of Greek-Turkish relations.

The Prime Minister also said that he would like to visit Ankara next May as revenge for Erdoğan's visit to Athens.

Mr. Mitsotakis paid particular attention.

It is worth recalling that the information states that the supply of F16s will be linked to Turkey's commitments to NATO allies and especially to Greece in the attached letter.

“We cannot force the US to sell weapons to Turkey. But it is important to take into account Greek concerns that US weapons will not be used against NATO allies. That goes without saying.”Mr. Mitsotakis said.

Especially regarding A possible “footnote” in favor of Greece for F16s in TurkeyThe Prime Minister said: “It's an issue about the US government's relationship with Congress and the Senate.” And meaningfully added: “What I can say is that Greece's relations with Congress — with both parties and with foreign affairs groups — are very close and the Greek-American relationship has always been built on logic for the benefit of both countries.”

F-35 fighter jet


Finally, Mr. Note that Mitsotakis said: “We do not comment on US elections. It is a huge mistake to interfere in the democratic processes of other countries.

It is recalled that the prospect of Donald Trump returning to the White House is creating anxiety across Europe over the US withdrawal from NATO, but And there is a possibility of a shift in US policy toward Erdogan in Athens.

“Cloudy space” regarding support for Ukraine

However, the “package” with the F35s is accompanied by US “recommendations” for new support with defense equipment in Ukraine.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, Mr. In a letter to Mitsotakis, he states: “We continue to be interested in defense capabilities that Greece can transfer or sell to Ukraine. If these capabilities are of interest to Ukraine, and pending an assessment of their status and value by the U.S. government, we may explore opportunities to provide up to $200 million in additional foreign military funding to Greece.”

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Two days after the Blinken letter, Mr. Interestingly, Mitsotakis had a phone conversation with Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Zelensky. He stressed that Greece will continue to support Ukraine bilaterally and within the framework of the European Union and NATO.

It is worth recalling that almost two years ago, the deployment of armored personnel carriers from Greece to Ukraine caused serious reactions, which were reported by the German Chancellor and not the Greek side.

However, the government has made it clear in all tones Systems such as the S300, which are essential for national security, remain in Greece.

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