F-35 and Constellation frigates: Athens fully turns towards the United States

Will the Greek armed forces soon be equipped with F-35s and Constellation frigates? This is what we can understand from the announcements made in recent days concerning notable advances in the supply of American defense equipment to the Hellenic armed forces.

In addition to the authorization given to acquire 40 F-35As for $8,6 billion, Washington would also have offered Athens to join its Constellation class frigate program with, at stake, the possibility of building up to 7 ships for the Hellenic Navy, in Greek shipyards.

As attractive as these announcements appear, they will be difficult and restrictive to implement for Greece, where Ankara has the credits and means to acquire the 120 F-16Vs promised by Washington, or the frigates and destroyers of the MILGEM program.

They also risk leading Athens to abandon certain programs that are nevertheless essential, but negotiated with the Europeans, such as the construction of a flotilla of corvettes, or additional FDI frigates for the Hellenic navy.

Massive compensation for the export authorization of 120 F-16Vs for the Turkish Air Force

After the Turkish Parliament approved, with a large majority, Swedish membership in NATO, and Ankara made significant efforts to show a form of detente with Athens, it became particularly complex for the administration American, and especially in Congress, to continue to block the sale of 40 new F-16 Block 70s and 80 transformation kits for as many aircraft brought to this standard, to the Turkish air forces, which play a decisive role on NATO's southern front against Russia.

F-16V Hellenic Air Force
The Hellenic Air Forces have acquired 80 kits to upgrade some of their F-16s to the Block 70 standard.

However, Washington's confidence in the new face that President Erdogan is giving himself is only limited, while, at the same time, Greece has powerful support in Congress, both in the House of Representatives and in the Senate.

To maintain the military status quo in the Aegean Sea, and reduce the risks of an escalation between the Turkish and Greek armies, the United States has imagined a strategy which seems, at first glance, effective, and which is, above all, very favorable.

Indeed, the United States and Greece have initiated discussions to allow Athens to acquire very significant military assets, ranging from 40 F-35As to seven Constellation-class frigates, while supporting the Hellenic armies through transfers. massive amounts of more or less decommissioned equipment, such as Bradley combat vehicles, or LCS corvettes, and even direct financial aid, if the Greek armies agree to transfer some of their Russian-made equipment to Ukraine.

20+20 F-35s for the Hellenic Air Force for $8,6 billion

The first of the measures, the most visible in the short term, concerning American support for Greece, is based on the export authorization given by the State Department to Congress, for 40 F-35As, as well as a set of equipment, parts and maintenance and training systems, for a total amount of $8,6 billion.

This announcement had been awaited for several months, Athens having openly asked to be able to acquire, in the years to come, the Lockheed-Martin fighter. However, Greek planning was based on 2 batches of 20 F-35As each, i.e. a squadron each time, and not a global order of 40 aircraft.

The State Department authorized the sale of 40 F-35As to the Hellenic Air Force for $8,6 billion.

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