According to well-informed diplomatic sources in Athens and Washington, the Americans have decided to dispatch the Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) regarding the procurement of the 5th Generation stealth F-35 fighter Jets to Greece, as there is no reason, according to the same sources, to wait for Turkey to lift the veto for Sweden’s admission to NATO. This means that talks for the supply of the state-of-the-art fighter will commence in a few months.
The LOA, a formal document in the context of trade talks confirming a request of purchase, was initially expected after the Greek and Turkish elections and the subsequent NATO summit in Vilnius. However, following Turkey’s intransigence on Sweden’s NATO accession, the LOA is anticipated to reach Athens within the year, thus expediting negotiations for the purchase of 20+4 state-of-the-art fifth-generation fighter jets.
Diplomatic and military sources in Athens believe that despite the delay and other countries’ requests to acquire F-35s, Greece has retained its position on the list, 8th, in the production line, with the first delivery, as stipulated in the initial agreement, expected to take place in 2028.
The primary source of US funding for the aircraft will come from the Foreign Military Financing (FMF) – a source of financing that can be provided to a partner-nations on either a grant (non-repayable) or direct loan basis, mainly NATO and Israel.
At the same time, funds of €150 million announced by Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis from the state budget have been earmarked for the upgrade of the Andravida air base, where, along with Souda, the F-35s will be stationed.
The entire procurement program for the F-35s (the purchase of 20+4 aircraft, pilot and engineer training, flight simulators, shelters, etc.) is estimated, according to military assessments, to possibly exceed, €4 billion.
Additionally, it should be noted that the construction of Greek F-35s at the Lockheed Martin facility in Texas has proceeded faster in comparison to any potential construction or upgrade of Turkish F-16s.
The first F-35s are scheduled to be delivered in 2028, but the training of pilots and technicians will begin in a few months with the signing of the contract.