Greece plans to modernize its fleet of F-16 fighters prior to purchasing the all-new F-35 Lightning II jets from the United States.
The news was reported by Greece’s Ekathimerini, quoting unidentified aides of Defense Minister Panos Kammenos who said the decision was taken in line with recommendations made by military chiefs.
The report said that in addition to upgrading existing F-16s and notifying the United States of its interest in procuring the F-35, Greece will also seek maintenance for the military’s S-300 PMU-1 long-range surface-to-air missile systems, but no further details were given concerning the latter.
A letter of request for modernizing the F-16s was reportedly signed by Kammenos on Tuesday.
Upgrading Greece’s entire fleet of F-16s to the “Viper” variant will cost between $1.7 billion and $2 billion, according to the report, and would be paid over a period of time rather than being paid in lumpsum.
The Lockheed Martin F-16V is the latest and most advanced F-16 on the market today. The jet provides advanced combat capabilities in a scalable and affordable package. The core of the F-16V configuration is an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, a modern commercial off-the-shelf (COTS)-based avionics subsystem, a large-format, high-resolution display; and a high-volume, high-speed data bus.
Operational capabilities are enhanced through a Link-16 Theater Data Link, Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod, advanced weapons, precision GPS navigation, and the Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System (Auto GCAS).
Greece operates 155 F-16C and F-16D jets of blocks 30/50/52+ and 52+ Advanced.