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Sep 3, 2020,
These Acquisitions And Upgrades Could Give Greece’s Air Force A Formidable Edge Over Turkey
Paul IddonContributor
Aerospace & Defense

Greece’s goals to acquire new fighter jets and upgrade its existing air force could see the Hellenic Air Force (HAF) attain a very formidable qualitative edge over its Turkish rival by the end of the 2020s.

Greece and Turkey are presently locked in an increasingly tense and dangerous standoff in the Aegean Sea and Eastern Mediterranean over hydrocarbon drilling rights and the delineation of their maritime boundaries.


Amid these tensions, Athens is in negotiations with its ally France over future arms deals that might include the procurement of formidable French 4.5-generation Dassault Rafale jets. Greek possession of such jets could pose a significant challenge to Turkish jets over the Aegean and Mediterranean.

“We are in talks with France, and not only with France, in order to increase our country’s defense potential,” a Greek official told Reuters in early September, adding that these talks include “the purchase of aircraft.”

Greek media previously claimed that both countries had already reached a deal for a sale of 18 Rafale jets, although this is unconfirmed and seems quite dubious for now.

The HAL already operates a small fleet of French-built Mirage 2000-5s.


It’s worth noting that this isn’t the first instance this year in which Greece has shown an interest in substantially upgrading its air force with more modern jets.

Greek Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos said in January, following a visit by the country’s prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to Washington, that Greece plans to procure at least 24 stealthy fifth-generation F-35 Lightning II fighter jets from the United States for $3 billion.

Panagiotopoulos expects that the lengthy acquisition process would begin after 2024.

The defense minister went so far as to say that Greece’s acquisition of F-35s would help it achieve “air superiority over Turkey” in the not-too-distant future.

He was echoed by Turkish journalist Haluk Özdalga who went so far as to say that HAL F-35s could enable Greece to turn the Aegean into a “Greek lake.”

Additionally, Özdalga said, Greek F-35s would mean “balances can be turned upside down in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East, including Cyprus.”

Athens is also in the process of upgrading its air force’s existing inventory.

Greece has just over 150 F-16s while Turkey has 245. In December, Panagiotopoulos said that 84 HAL F-16s will be updated to the latest Viper standard by 2027 as part of a $1.5 billion deal with manufacturer Lockheed Martin LMT.

Completing that upgrade would undoubtedly give that large portion of Greece’s F-16 fleet a qualitative edge over their quantitatively superior Turkish counterpart, which operates the Block 30, 40, and 50 variants of that iconic fighter jet.

According to Lockheed Martin, upon completion of this upgrade program, “HAF F-16Vs will be the most advanced F-16s in Europe.”


Greece also signed contracts with French aerospace companies to upgrade its smaller Mirage 2000-5 fleet during the same period. The contracts’ value is estimated to amount to €260 million (approximately $300 million).

All of this comes as Turkey is facing problems with procuring new aircraft and upgrading its existing fleet.

The United States suspended Turkey from the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program for its acquisition of advanced Russian S-400 air defense missile systems in 2019. Turkey likely won’t receive the jet unless it completely removes the S-400s from its territory, which it’s not likely to do.

Furthermore, Turkey is unlikely going to be able to complete its fifth-generation TAI TF-X stealth fighter by the 2030s nor procure fifth-generation fighters from other countries, such as Russia, in the same period.

Turkey may even find it will have difficulty acquiring 4.5-generation fighters to serve as stopgap fighters until it can finally field fifth-generation jets.
And on top of all this, Ankara may well find it will have difficulty upgrading its existing fleet of fighter jets.

It was recently revealed that Congress secretly blocked arms deals to Turkey since 2018, reportedly including a contract for Lockheed Martin to structurally upgrade 35 of Turkey’s older Block 30 F-16 fighters to prolong their operational lifespan.

During this same period, Turkey began stockpiling spare parts for its F-16s out of fear it could face wide-ranging U.S. sanctions for its S-400 purchase.

Consequently, we may see a situation unfold wherein Turkey finds it increasingly difficult to maintain its large fleet of fourth-generation fighters whereas Greece, in stark contrast, successfully upgrades and enhances its fleet and attains more sophisticated fighters.


In that scenario, Turkish airpower would significantly lag behind that of its Greek neighbor and Ankara may find it increasingly difficult to contest its various maritime disputes with Athens militarily .

 

EpiiC

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Sep 3, 2020,
These Acquisitions And Upgrades Could Give Greece’s Air Force A Formidable Edge Over Turkey
Paul IddonContributor
Aerospace & Defense

Greece’s goals to acquire new fighter jets and upgrade its existing air force could see the Hellenic Air Force (HAF) attain a very formidable qualitative edge over its Turkish rival by the end of the 2020s.

Greece and Turkey are presently locked in an increasingly tense and dangerous standoff in the Aegean Sea and Eastern Mediterranean over hydrocarbon drilling rights and the delineation of their maritime boundaries.


Amid these tensions, Athens is in negotiations with its ally France over future arms deals that might include the procurement of formidable French 4.5-generation Dassault Rafale jets. Greek possession of such jets could pose a significant challenge to Turkish jets over the Aegean and Mediterranean.

“We are in talks with France, and not only with France, in order to increase our country’s defense potential,” a Greek official told Reuters in early September, adding that these talks include “the purchase of aircraft.”

Greek media previously claimed that both countries had already reached a deal for a sale of 18 Rafale jets, although this is unconfirmed and seems quite dubious for now.

The HAL already operates a small fleet of French-built Mirage 2000-5s.


It’s worth noting that this isn’t the first instance this year in which Greece has shown an interest in substantially upgrading its air force with more modern jets.

Greek Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos said in January, following a visit by the country’s prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to Washington, that Greece plans to procure at least 24 stealthy fifth-generation F-35 Lightning II fighter jets from the United States for $3 billion.

Panagiotopoulos expects that the lengthy acquisition process would begin after 2024.

The defense minister went so far as to say that Greece’s acquisition of F-35s would help it achieve “air superiority over Turkey” in the not-too-distant future.

He was echoed by Turkish journalist Haluk Özdalga who went so far as to say that HAL F-35s could enable Greece to turn the Aegean into a “Greek lake.”

Additionally, Özdalga said, Greek F-35s would mean “balances can be turned upside down in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East, including Cyprus.”

Athens is also in the process of upgrading its air force’s existing inventory.

Greece has just over 150 F-16s while Turkey has 245. In December, Panagiotopoulos said that 84 HAL F-16s will be updated to the latest Viper standard by 2027 as part of a $1.5 billion deal with manufacturer Lockheed Martin LMT.

Completing that upgrade would undoubtedly give that large portion of Greece’s F-16 fleet a qualitative edge over their quantitatively superior Turkish counterpart, which operates the Block 30, 40, and 50 variants of that iconic fighter jet.

According to Lockheed Martin, upon completion of this upgrade program, “HAF F-16Vs will be the most advanced F-16s in Europe.”


Greece also signed contracts with French aerospace companies to upgrade its smaller Mirage 2000-5 fleet during the same period. The contracts’ value is estimated to amount to €260 million (approximately $300 million).

All of this comes as Turkey is facing problems with procuring new aircraft and upgrading its existing fleet.

The United States suspended Turkey from the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program for its acquisition of advanced Russian S-400 air defense missile systems in 2019. Turkey likely won’t receive the jet unless it completely removes the S-400s from its territory, which it’s not likely to do.

Furthermore, Turkey is unlikely going to be able to complete its fifth-generation TAI TF-X stealth fighter by the 2030s nor procure fifth-generation fighters from other countries, such as Russia, in the same period.

Turkey may even find it will have difficulty acquiring 4.5-generation fighters to serve as stopgap fighters until it can finally field fifth-generation jets.
And on top of all this, Ankara may well find it will have difficulty upgrading its existing fleet of fighter jets.

It was recently revealed that Congress secretly blocked arms deals to Turkey since 2018, reportedly including a contract for Lockheed Martin to structurally upgrade 35 of Turkey’s older Block 30 F-16 fighters to prolong their operational lifespan.

During this same period, Turkey began stockpiling spare parts for its F-16s out of fear it could face wide-ranging U.S. sanctions for its S-400 purchase.

Consequently, we may see a situation unfold wherein Turkey finds it increasingly difficult to maintain its large fleet of fourth-generation fighters whereas Greece, in stark contrast, successfully upgrades and enhances its fleet and attains more sophisticated fighters.


In that scenario, Turkish airpower would significantly lag behind that of its Greek neighbor and Ankara may find it increasingly difficult to contest its various maritime disputes with Athens militarily .

Israel already has a better air force than Turkey now Greece too will have a better air force.... Israeli Air force>Greece>Turkey. Maybe even UAE if they somehow get their hands on f-35.
 

Hakikat ve Hikmet

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If acquisitions were the key India would have had the strongest air force in Pak's neighborhood....

The Turkish 1st Army is enough to take the Greek mainland within a week...

The Greek fighters won't even understand what has hit them, thanks to the Turkish indigenous EW, BVR A2A missiles etc. capabilities....
 
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Agha Sher

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The article is exaggerating the impact of Greece's purchasing spree. Yes, Greece will close the gap relative to TuAF and become a formidable force. However, Turkey has its own upgrade plans in the 2020s. Turkey will upgrade a number of F-16 with AESA, EW etc. which will enable TuAF to maintain qualitative parity with Greece.

In addition, Turkey is excelling with great velocity in EW, intelligence and rocketry as we speak. If these factors are included, neither Rafale nor a squadron of F-35 will change the qualitative aspect in favour of the Greek.

Lastly, Turkey might acquire a stop-gap fighter. I wouldn't be surprised if Turkey was fielding a few squadrons of Eurofighters in mid-2020.
 

Figaro

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The article is exaggerating the impact of Greece's purchasing spree. Yes, Greece will close the gap relative to TuAF and become a formidable force. However, Turkey has its own upgrade plans in the 2020s. Turkey will upgrade a number of F-16 with AESA, EW etc. which will enable TuAF to maintain qualitative parity with Greece.

In addition, Turkey is excelling with great velocity in EW, intelligence and rocketry as we speak. If these factors are included, neither Rafale nor a squadron of F-35 will change the qualitative aspect in favour of the Greek.

Lastly, Turkey might acquire a stop-gap fighter. I wouldn't be surprised if Turkey was fielding a few squadrons of Eurofighters in mid-2020.
Turkey really should have remained in the F-35 program, via not purchasing the S-400. This is going to pose a major problem for the Turkish air force for this coming decade ... few people understand the true implications of this, which is extremely severe. Upgraded F-16s or Eurofighters after all are at most 4.5 generation fighters, not 5.
 

Agha Sher

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Turkey really should have remained in the F-35 program, via not purchasing the S-400. This is going to pose a major problem for the Turkish air force for this coming decade ... few people understand the true implications of this, which is extremely severe. Upgraded F-16s or Eurofighters after all are at most 4.5 generation fighters, not 5.
Agree. However, what is done is done. Time to look forward.
 

LeGenD

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The article is exaggerating the impact of Greece's purchasing spree. Yes, Greece will close the gap relative to TuAF and become a formidable force. However, Turkey has its own upgrade plans in the 2020s. Turkey will upgrade a number of F-16 with AESA, EW etc. which will enable TuAF to maintain qualitative parity with Greece.

In addition, Turkey is excelling with great velocity in EW, intelligence and rocketry as we speak. If these factors are included, neither Rafale nor a squadron of F-35 will change the qualitative aspect in favour of the Greek.

Lastly, Turkey might acquire a stop-gap fighter. I wouldn't be surprised if Turkey was fielding a few squadrons of Eurofighters in mid-2020.
Close the gap? More like surpass TuAF on many counts.

Turkey might upgrade its F-16 fleet with domestic AESA radar systems (and more) but how capable would these be in comparison to true American F-16 Block 70/72 standard?

And don't even try to put Rafale and F-35 in the same basket.

Jets can be made to take off from normal highways and empty spaces by the way. Greece and France are also joining hands to counter Turkey and this strategic partnership will make a potential conflict completely unfair for Turkey by and large. Greece can park many of its good jets including entire fleet of F-35 in France and use them from there if deemed necessary. What Turkey will do then? Strike at France? France is one of the strongest countries in modern times with significant nuclear capability and much. This is not 1941.

French were responsible for striking at Turkish assets in a Libyan military base not long ago - not Russians. Turkey could do nothing about this act of aggression.

There is no substitute for a capable Air Force in WAR due to its flexibility and reach. Ballistic missiles and cruise missiles do not win conventional wars for you; a capable Air Force can make much difference however.

Having soft corner for Turkey is one thing (I am a well-wisher), but one must not take significant technological and capability leaps of a country for granted in any discussion. Strategic partnerships should not be underestimated either.
 

Agha Sher

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The article is exaggerating the impact of Greece's purchasing spree. Yes, Greece will close the gap relative to TuAF and become a formidable force. However, Turkey has its own upgrade plans in the 2020s. Turkey will upgrade a number of F-16 with AESA, EW etc. which will enable TuAF to maintain qualitative parity with Greece.

In addition, Turkey is excelling with great velocity in EW, intelligence and rocketry as we speak. If these factors are included, neither Rafale nor a squadron of F-35 will change the qualitative aspect in favour of the Greek.

Lastly, Turkey might acquire a stop-gap fighter. I wouldn't be surprised if Turkey was fielding a few squadrons of Eurofighters in mid-2020.
Close the gap? More like surpass TuAF on many counts.

Turkey might upgrade its F-16 fleet with domestic AESA radar systems (and more) but how capable would these be in comparison to true American F-16 Block 70/72 standard?

And don't even try to put Rafale and F-35 in the same basket.

Jets can be made to take off from normal highways and empty spaces by the way. Greece and France are also joining hands to counter Turkey and this strategic partnership will make a potential conflict completely unfair for Turkey by and large. Greece can park many of its good jets including entire fleet of F-35 in France and use them from there if deemed necessary. What Turkey will do then? Strike at France? France is one of the strongest countries in modern times with significant nuclear capability and much. This is not 1941.

French were responsible for striking at Turkish assets in a Libyan military base not long ago - not Russians. Turkey could do nothing about this act of aggression.

There is no substitute for a capable Air Force in WAR due to its flexibility and reach. Ballistic missiles and cruise missiles do not win conventional wars for you; a capable Air Force can make much difference however.

Having soft corner for Turkey is one thing (I am a well-wisher), but one must not take significant technological and capability leaps of a country for granted in any discussion. Strategic partnerships should not be underestimated either.
You are reaching a number of terrible and wrong conclusions in your post.

1. Greece will upgrade 84 F-16s with AESA while Turkey can upgrade almost their entire fleet of F-16s. The Turkish upgrade might be slightly inferior, but not by a large margin.

2. Yes highways can be used, but what about getting munition and jet fuel delivered to them? If you are forced to use highways, your sortie rate will drop tremendously. With the geographic distance between Turkey and Greece, nowhere is really safe for the Greeks.

3. Using France for strike mission. Really? that is a laughable idea. the sortie rate would be so low, that it wouldn't make a difference.

4. France did NOT strike Turkish assets in Libya. Get that BS out of your mind.

5. A powerful missile force WILL make a difference. Especially, when the geographic distance is small. Turkish missiles will significantly reduce Greek sortie rates and destroy several dozens of aircrafts on the ground.

6. AGAIN. Greece lacks EW. Their Air Force will be blind in any serious engagements with TuAF.

7. Stop dreaming about Isreal and France joining to defend Greece. That will not happen.
 

My-Analogous

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Turkey really should have remained in the F-35 program, via not purchasing the S-400. This is going to pose a major problem for the Turkish air force for this coming decade ... few people understand the true implications of this, which is extremely severe. Upgraded F-16s or Eurofighters after all are at most 4.5 generation fighters, not 5.
you are correct. Turkey all setup is based on West and it need time to come up with solutions, i think Pakistan can help Turkey greatly in this case because we face same issues in our late 80's and 90's. Now our mix platforms are working well. Turkey should go for JF17 for make life of F16 more and JF17 can go for more sorties and it will give Turkey good advantages. Our JF17 block 3 will be good choice for turkey
 

LeGenD

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You are reaching a number of terrible and wrong conclusions in your post.

1. Greece will upgrade 84 F-16s with AESA while Turkey can upgrade almost their entire fleet of F-16s. The Turkish upgrade might be slightly inferior, but not by a large margin.

2. Yes highways can be used, but what about getting munition and jet fuel delivered to them? If you are forced to use highways, your sortie rate will drop tremendously. With the geographic distance between Turkey and Greece, nowhere is really safe for the Greeks.

3. Using France for strike mission. Really? that is a laughable idea. the sortie rate would be so low, that it wouldn't make a difference.

4. France did NOT strike Turkish assets in Libya. Get that BS out of your mind.

5. A powerful missile force WILL make a difference. Especially, when the geographic distance is small. Turkish missiles will significantly reduce Greek sortie rates and destroy several dozens of aircrafts on the ground.

6. AGAIN. Greece lacks EW. Their Air Force will be blind in any serious engagements with TuAF.

7. Stop dreaming about Isreal and France joining to defend Greece. That will not happen.
1. Again; how capable would be Turkish F-16s in comparison to true Block 70/72 standard? Do you have any idea?

2. Air bases - particularly NATO standard - are heavily guarded spaces with considerable safety arrangements for aircraft and support infrastructure to enable REPAIRS in a short span [post-strike scenario].

Even a massive volley of lethal 50 x Tomahawk cruise missiles was not sufficient to cripple a much lightly guarded Syrian air base in 2017. How many would be needed to cripple just one Greek air base from afar? Greece have multiple Air bases by the way: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Greek_military_bases

Turkey does not have anything even remotely close to projecting firepower on the level of American Arleigh Burke class destroyers from the seas by the way.

EMPHASIS: There is no substitute for a capable Air Force in projecting firepower in distant spaces in reality.

3. Do you understand the notion of a strategic partnership?

To give you some perspective:



France will be willing to offer its spaces to Hellenic Air Force to strike at Turkish targets. Jets can manage long-distance sorties with conformal fuel tanks, and with support of Air Refueling platforms. F-35 have built-in (internal) fuel tanks by the way.

4. You mind your language and get your facts straight.



5. Please tell me which war was won through use of ballistic missiles and cruise missiles in large part. You will not find a single example.

6. Helenic Air Force is looking forward to address this shortcoming in the near term. F-35 represent one of the most potent EW platforms in existence, and F-16 Block 70/72 standard will also live up to expectations in the EW spectrum.

7. This is contingent upon what geopolitical course Turkey will adopt in coming years.

Turkey is not in good books of both France and Israel in the present due to foreign policy of Erdogan administration (I am not picking sides here; simply pointing out the obvious). You are welcome to explore this theme on your own (Google is your friend).

I am alluding to the 'emerging dynamic' in the Mediterranean Sea in which France and Greece join hands to counter Turkish moves in the region, and Hellenic Air Force realize its UPGRADE GOALS in full capacity in the near term. TuAF is better than Hellenic Air Force in the present but this won't be the case in coming years due to removal of Turkey from F-35 program and more.

Turkey should mend its relations with USA because this is the only country which can ensure stability in the Mediterranean Sea, and also make sure that Turkey will not fall behind Greece on the military front.

Turkey is strong and capable by virtue of perks of NATO membership - nobody can deny this simple fact. Turkey should learn to play its cards right. Alienating so many countries is not the way forward.
 

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Turks drone alone can set Greece straight , Greece is no match to Turk power
Israel claimed turkey has also produced hypersonic missiles so even before the war turkey can neutralise Greek airforce.
 

ziaulislam

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turkey needs to get back in f35 program..
it should shelf s400 and get back in
it is good for turkey and good for USA
USA needs a strong NATO memeber while turkey needs acess to technology
it hasnt mastered everything yet
it will be logn time before turkey can be considered a powerful independent power
 

HaMoTZeMaS

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Panic Buying itself is enough to tell Jo Zalzaley a rhey han Grecee and Co mey..
All ganging up means they have sensed that Turkey is growing beyond their control.
 

Hakikat ve Hikmet

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Turkey really should have remained in the F-35 program, via not purchasing the S-400. This is going to pose a major problem for the Turkish air force for this coming decade ... few people understand the true implications of this, which is extremely severe. Upgraded F-16s or Eurofighters after all are at most 4.5 generation fighters, not 5.
S-400, coupled with the Turkish battle proven EW capabilities, can take down the Rafaels, not F-35s...

F-35s are the mother of all Trojan horses! The worst part if you have to spend billions of $s to buy and maintain them!! Still people wonder how the Satans if the Wall Street make money by tons....
 
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