Israeli and Greek governments set to sign expansive defense deal

“It is a long-term partnership that will serve the interests of both Israel and Greece."

Israel and Greece are set to sign a wide-ranging USD 1.8 billion security agreement, which includes the procurement of ten M-346 (Lavi) aircraft and the establishment of a flight school.
Israel and Greece are set to sign a wide-ranging $1.68 billion security agreement that includes the procurement of 10 M-346 (Lavi) aircraft and the establishment of a flight school.
The Greek government approved the deal ahead of the signing, the Defense Ministry said Tuesday in a press release.
The agreement, which will be signed by both defense ministries, includes the establishment and operation of a flight school for the Hellenic Air Force by Elbit Systems. It also includes the maintenance of T-6 aircraft (Efroni), as well as the provision of simulators, training and logistics support. The deal will span more than 20 years, the Defense Ministry said.
“This agreement reflects the excellent and developing relations we have with Greece,” Defense Minister Benny Gantz said. “It is a long-term partnership that will serve the interests of both Israel and Greece, create hundreds of jobs in both countries and promote stability in the Mediterranean. In the phone call that I received after the agreement was approved, I thanked my friend, the Greek minister of defense, Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos and expressed my appreciation for his personal involvement in advancing this project.
“I also commended the recent strengthening of defense relations between our countries and noted my expectation that these will deepen further.”
The Defense Ministry said it participated in an international tender for this project, and its winning bid was approved by the Greek government.
As part of the agreement, the flight school will be built and maintained by Elbit systems, it said.
This is said to be the largest defense procurement agreement between the two countries to date, and the approval from Athens enables the parties to move forward in the negotiations leading to the signing of a contract.
In the near future, SIBAT, the International Defense Cooperation Directorate in the Defense Ministry; and Elbit Systems will sign the agreement to establish the Greek flight school. It will be modeled after the IAF flight academy and equipped with 10 M-346 training aircraft produced by the Italian company Leonardo. Otherwise known as Lavi, these aircraft are also employed in the Israeli flight school and are considered very successful.
Within the framework of the agreement, Elbit Systems is set to provide kits to upgrade and operate the Hellenic Air Force’s T-6 aircraft. Elbit will also provide training, simulators and logistical support. In the future, the parties will also consider areas of cooperation between the Israeli and Greek flight academies.
“The Greek government’s approval of this agreement is a historic step in further deepening the excellent defense relations between our two countries,” SIBAT director Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Yair Kulas said. “This is not just a defense export agreement, but rather a partnership for at least 20 years. I would like to thank the Greek Ministry of National Defense for its trust and for assigning this important task to the Israel Ministry of Defense and our excellent defense industry.”