Greece decides on F-16 warplane upgrade: Official
An emergency meeting by the government council of foreign affairs and defense chaired by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras approved the decision, the PM’s office said on April 28.
“The council unanimously approved the implementation of the 85-plane upgrade program,” Tsipras’ office said.
It added that the decision was based on “preliminary approval” by the U.S. of a “revised Greek proposal taking into account the country’s fiscal obligations over the coming years.”
No details on the cost or delivery dates of the program were given.
Greece operates a fleet of some 150 F-16s in all.
The deal had originally been announced in October during a visit by Tsipras to Washington.
But the government came under immediate criticism over the price tag, estimated at $2.4 billion at the time over 10 years.
Athens had insisted the cost would not exceed $1.3 billion and would not destabilise its precarious budget.
Ta Nea daily said on April 28 the program runs to 2028, with annual payments until 2021 set at a maximum of 120 million euros owing to Greece’s bailout obligations.
Tsipras has said the planes, some of them dating from 1989, risked being rendered inoperable without the upgrade.
Greek authorities released from custody on April 27 one of the eight former Turkish servicemen who fled to the country in a military helicopter seeking asylum, just after Turkey’s failed military coup in 2016.