The United States is considering expanding sales of Lockheed Martin Corp-made F-35 fighter jets to Greece, according to a Reuters report which came out on Thursday.
The US is considering boosting the defenses of four European allies, including Greece, Spain, Romania and Poland, in the face of a strengthening Russia, a Pentagon official told Congress.
In written testimony submitted to the US House of Representatives, Vice Admiral Mathias Winter, the head of the Pentagon’s F-35 office, said that “future potential Foreign Military Sales customers include Singapore, Greece, Romania, Spain and Poland.” The documents were seen by reporters from Reuters.
Reuters says that the news of the new customers coincides with US tension with F-35 development partner Turkey over Ankara’s plans to buy a Russian missile defense system.
Greek Defense Minister Evangelos Apostolakis said on Friday that Greece will consider the possibility of acquiring the F-35 fighter jets as part of its efforts to upgrade its Air Force fleet.
“Beyond the upgrade of the F-16 fighter jets, we are in the process of selecting a new plane for Greece, so we can gradually move to the new generation of aircraft,” he told journalists during a visit to Andravida Air Base, western Peloponnese.
“The statement by the US Congress helps in this perspective. We will examine it, all the elements, and see what will happen.”
The F-35 is a single-seat, single-engine, all-weather stealth multirole fighter. The fifth-generation combat aircraft is designed to perform ground-attack and air-superiority missions.
The United States plans to buy 2,663 F-35s, which will provide the bulk of the crewed tactical airpower of the U.S. Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps in the coming decades.