The US State Department late Friday (EST) notified Congress of the Biden administration’s intent to sell the advanced F-35 fighter plane to Greece, a contract valued at some 8.6 billion USD, according to media reports.

The decision was also accompanied, as widely expected, with approval of the sale of new F-16s and modernization kits to Turkey after Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government finally signed off on Sweden’s membership to NATO last week – and after nearly two years of foot-dragging and “grand bazaar-like” bargaining.

Greece will substantially upgrade its warplane fleet and capabilities with the acquisition of the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters and related equipment, part of a 20+20 agreement for the fifth generation warplane.

Mitsotakis welcomes approval

In a statement from Athens on Saturday morning, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis referred to an important day for the country’s national defense and Greek diplomacy.

“This demonstrates the strategic depth of Greek-American relations and officially ushers Greece into the orbit of acquire up to 40 state-of-the-art F-35s. At the same time our country acquires, at no expense, a large package of defense material that will decisively reinforce our armed forces and the Hellenic Coast Guard.”

In terms of other “defense material”, Mitsotakis directly referred to naval frigates, C-130 transport planes, armored fighting vehicles “and other defense material, which our country will acquire after a request I had tabled in May 2022, personally to President (Joe) Biden.”

The Greek premier also cited a recent letter dispatched by US Secretary of State of the United States Antony Blinken, before adding that:
“Our homeland is thus doubly protected: on the one hand its deterrent capability is magnified on land, air and sea. On the other hand, Greek taxpayers will not bear a burden, as the (non F-35) defense package will be provided without cost, coming from US reserves.”

“With clear positions and initiatives on major issues, Greece now plays an active role in the western world, something that the country’s partners and allies recognize, seeing in our country a consistent partner, a trusted interlocutor but also a necessary ally. In an era of uncertainty, therefore, Greece confirms that it stands, with seriousness and geopolitical maturity, on the world map. At the same time, the country serves its national goals, reinforcing its defense; on the path of stability and peace, always with pride and national self-confidence.”