Amid ongoing tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean, Israel and Greece
on Friday signed their biggest defense agreement to date, the Defense Ministry said Sunday.
As part of the agreement, the ministry and Elbit Systems will lead the establishment of an International Flight Training Center for the Hellenic Air Force, it said in a press release.
The Greek International Flight Training Center will be modeled after the IAF flight academy and will be equipped with 10 M-346 training aircraft produced by the Italian company Leonardo.
The agreement was signed by Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yair Kulas, head of the Defense Ministry’s Directorate for International Defense Cooperation (SIBAT).
The G2G agreement is worth about NIS 5.4 billion ($1.65b.) and will span more than 22 years, the ministry said.
Within the framework of the agreement, Elbit
will provide kits to upgrade and operate the Hellenic Air Force’s T-6 aircraft. It will also provide training, simulators and logistical support. In the future, the parties will also consider areas of cooperation between the Israeli flight academy and the Hellenic Air Force Academy.
In response to the signing, Defense Minister Benny Gantz said: “This cooperation agreement rests on the excellence of Israel’s defense industry and the strong relations between the defense establishments of Greece and Israel.”
“I thank the Greek minister of defense, Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos, for promoting the agreement, which we had discussed at the last trilateral meeting held in Cyprus,” he said. “I am certain that [this program] will upgrade the capabilities and strengthen the economies of Israel and Greece, and thus the partnership between our two countries will deepen on the defense, economic and political levels.”
Kulas said: “The strategic partnership between the Israel Defense Ministry and Hellenic Ministry of National Defense is further cemented today, via the signing of the most expansive and one of the most significant defense agreements to date. I would like to thank the Hellenic Ministry of National Defense for choosing Israel – and we look forward to future opportunities for partnership and collaboration.”
Elbit Systems president and CEO Bezhalel Machlis said: “We are honored to have been awarded this contract to provide such an important capability to the Hellenic Air Force. This contract award attests to the leading position we hold in the area of training, providing tested know-how and proven technologies that improve readiness while reducing costs.”