The Greek government has officially approved on Saturday the upgrade of 85 of its Air Force F-16 fighter jets.
The decision was made at an extraordinary meeting of the Governmental Council for Foreign Affairs and Defense.
The deal for the sale of upgrade kits from Lockheed Martin was announced on Oct. 17, 2017, as U.S. President Donald Trump met with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Washington, D.C.
The Greek government says that it has secured a satisfactory financial arrangement for the sale.
A statement from the prime minister’s office says that the “US side has in principle accepted the revised Greek proposal, which takes into account the country’s fiscal commitments in the coming years.”
Defense Minister Panos Kammenos hailed the decision as a “great day for the Hellenic Air Force”.
Three of the 85 jets earmarked for modernization will be upgraded in the United States while the rest will be refurbished in Greece, a Greek defense ministry source said, adding that the cost would be about 1.2 billion euros ($1.45 billion).
Reports say that the Greek proposal is for annual installments of no more than €150 million, instead of the €250 million requested initially by the US side.
In October 2017, the US Defense Seurity Cooperation Agency estimated the cost of the upgrade at $2.404 billion (€1.98 billion).
It said that that the upgrade of F-16 aircraft to an F-16 Block V configuration “will bolster the Hellenic Air Force’s ability to support NATO and remain interoperable with the U.S. and the NATO alliance.
“It will improve Greece’s capability to meet current and future security threats. Greece will use this capability as a deterrent to regional threats, strengthen its homeland defense, and execute counter-terrorism operations.”