Greece has announced to increase the number of its Rafale fighter jets amid rising tensions with Turkey in the Mediterranean Sea. Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said during a speech at the 85th Thessaloniki International Fair that his country is now going to buy 24 Rafale fighter jets instead of 18. He even said that the first of the latter six fighter jets will be seen flying in the skies of Greece by the end of this year. Let us tell you that in July, France handed over the first Rafale fighter jet to Greece.
Greece’s PM announced about Rafale planes
Greece’s PM Mitsotakis said that finally we have decided to increase the purchase of 18 Rafale to 24. The first of them will be seen flying in the Greek skies before the end of the year. He said that Greece has faced difficulties on many fronts at the same time in the last year. National challenges, immigration, the corona pandemic, financial turmoil and natural disasters have plagued us greatly.
First 18 Rafale planes were signed
In the same year, Greece signed an agreement with Dassault Aviation for the purchase of 18 Rafale aircraft. Of these, 10 will be the F3-R variant of the Rafale, while the remaining 8 will be second-hand jets, for which Greece will not have to pay any money. It is not yet known which variant the additional six Rafale fighter jets will be. Greece’s Hellenic Air Force is planning to deploy these Rafale aircraft at Tanagra Air Force Base. From here the Turkish F-16 fighter jets can be closely monitored.
Turkey and Greece both have F-16 fighter jets
Turkey, which is dreaming of operating its grandeur in the Mediterranean, is scared of Rafale planes joining the Greece Air Force. At present, both Turkey and Greece have US F-16 fighter jets. But with the arrival of Rafale to Greece, Turkey’s power in the air will be reduced. At the same time, France has openly announced to support Greece.
What is the dispute between Turkey and Greece
In fact, since last year, Turkish marine oil exploration ship Oruk Reis has been carrying out research activity near the Greek island of Kastelorizo. Greece claims that Turkish ships are operating in its waters. Whereas, Turkey has denied the claim of Greece and claimed that maritime part as its own. Turkey is adamant on pursuing off-shore drilling in the area, while France has made it clear that Turkey will not remain a mute spectator if it starts any such activity in the disputed area. The crux of the dispute is three and a half trillion cubic meters (TCM) of gas in the eastern Mediterranean, of which 2.3 TCM is clearly in the Economic Interest Zones of Egypt, Israel and Cyprus.
Turkey has S-400 air defense missile system
Turkey, on the other hand, has the S-400 air defense missile system, which can shoot down enemy aircraft from the sky. The S-400 is considered to be Russia’s most advanced long range surface-to-air missile defense system. It is capable of shooting down enemy cruise, aircraft and ballistic missiles. This system is an upgraded version of Russia’s S-300. The missile system, developed by Almaz-Antey, has been in service in Russia since 2007.
Rafale fighter plane