Greece to Sell 108 Fighter Jets, Including 32 F-16s Headed to Ukraine

Greece is selling 108 old fighter jets to fund a military modernization plan.

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Girish Linganna
Girish Linganna
Girish Linganna is a Defence & Aerospace analyst and is the Director of ADD Engineering Components (India) Pvt Ltd, a subsidiary of ADD Engineering GmbH, Germany with manufacturing units in Russia. He is Consulting Editor Industry and Defense at Frontier India.

Greece is preparing to sell 108 old fighter jets destined for decommissioning, with 32 F-16C/-D Block 30 aircraft likely to be transferred to Ukraine.

Defense Minister Nikolaos Dendias, during a recent visit to the General Directorate of Defense Armaments and Investments, announced that the Air Force reform plan ‘Agenda 2030’ envisions that by 2030, the Air Force will have 200 modern 4.5 and 5th-generation aircraft, gradually phasing out 3rd and 4th-generation aircraft.

According to the news portal Newsbreak, the idea is to sell 108 retired fighter jets to fund the price of new weaponry. These fighter jets will include 32 F-16C/-D Block 30 aircraft, 24 Mirage 2000-5 Mk.2 aircraft, and 33 F-4E PI2000 aircraft. Some estimates suggest that the sales revenues range from two to two and a half billion euros; nevertheless, the portal implies that this is more wishful thinking than reality.

“Especially concerning the F-4E, the chances of resale are practically zero,” the article’s author believes.

On the contrary, the situation is quite different regarding the 32 F-16C/-D Block 30 aircraft, whose transfer to Ukraine is virtually assured. According to the article, these fighters have undergone two structural upgrades and have used approximately sixty percent of their maximal service life thus far.

Considering that 14 of the 24 Mirage 2000-5 Mk.2s are brand new (the 15th one was involved in an accident and crashed), and the remaining 14 are modifications of older Mirage 2000EGM/-BGMs, the authors believe that it is more difficult to speculate on where 24 of these aircraft could end up.

According to the portal, the transfer of these aircraft to Ukraine or their sale to India are both viable choices, provided that France consents.

Since 1985, the Mirage 2000H has been in operation in India. Presently, India possesses an estimated 32 of these planes; New Delhi is in the process of modernizing them and intends to acquire obsolete aircraft from France so that it can utilize specific components to prolong the plane’s life.

The Greek Mirages have suffered significantly over the previous decade due to the memorandum with creditors, which has led to a deficiency in technical maintenance and support; however, their serviceability is currently on the verge of recovering. In conclusion, the authors conclude that there are fighters of this type (Mirage 2000-5 Mk.2) with just 1500 flying hours, indicating they have a significant amount of time left.

Greece Profits from the Ukraine War

Greece was one of the first Western countries to send weapons and military equipment to Ukraine after the start of the Russian Special Military Operation. On February 27, 2022, it dispatched 40 tons of equipment on two C-130 aircraft through Poland. After that, Greece continued sending new weapons and military equipment batches. At the same time, Athens stated that it would not transfer to Kyiv modernized Leopard 2A6 tanks, Russian-made S-300 surface-to-air missile systems, and any weapon systems whose transfer ‘could in any way weaken Greece’s defense capability.’ With the purchase of F-35s from the United States, Greece is now willing to send its old Russian-made S-300 (S-300 PMU-1) and TOR-M1 surface-to-air missile systems, as well as the “Osa-AKM” (NATO reporting name SA-8 Gecko) mobile surface-to-air missile systems.

“Greece is only helping Ukraine within the framework of EU policy,” a government source in Athens told journalists in February, responding to a question about whether Greece would continue military supplies to Ukraine and provide air defense systems.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in a letter to Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, proposed that Greece transfer or sell weapons to Ukraine. In exchange, America would consider providing Athens with additional assistance of up to $200 million.

Greece has also sold ammunition that is near expiration to Ukraine. 

A deposit of approximately 45 million euros was recently made into the Greek treasury. The funds were furnished by the Czech Republic in exchange for the sale of 105-millimeter artillery projectiles. The newspaper Paron wrote in February that Greece did not use these shells and would have destroyed them at some point.

Obviously, they (the Czechs—ed.) bought them to transfer them to Ukraine as part of the assistance of Western countries to the country of Zelensky after signing the relevant agreements between the allied countries, writes Paron.

Nikos Dendias, the Greek minister of national defense, said on January 30 that surplus ammunition worth tens of millions of euros that will expire soon and need to be replaced could be sold to Ukraine. Dendias said on February 21 that most of the ammunition Greece supplies to Ukraine is sold for monetary compensation.


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