The United States Army has agreed to a foreign military sales contract with Greece to give the country’s military its extra equipment as well as support for regional operations.
The first round of equipment, known as Excess Defense Articles (EDA) arrived in Greece on Friday. The delivery contained 44 M117 Guardian Armored Safety Vehicles. The US military planes to send 1,200 M1117 vehicles to Greece by April.
Greek Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos applauded Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt and the US for their “excellent level of cooperation,” citing the deal as a new step in Greece and the US’s deep allegiance. The Redstone Rocket reported that the M117 vehicles are suited for Greece’s current weapons systems, and will improve the military’s combat readiness.
US’s military equipment will enhance Greece’s combat readiness
Panagiotopoulos said at the transfer ceremony on December 1 that the M117 is capable of a “wide range of missions” that will revitalize the military’s operations:
“I am convinced that the M1117 Security Armored Vehicles will breathe new life into the operational design of our Army formations, enabling them to carry out a wide range of missions,” Panagiotopoulos said.
The transportation of the vehicles has been a lengthy project, but Greek military officials believe it will be more than worth it. The first round of vehicles arrived from Germany, while the rest of the vehicles will be shipped from the Sierra Army Depot in Herlong, California.
“The 21st Theater Sustainment Command (in Germany) put the vehicles on a train and sent them to the U.S. Embassy and Consulate in Greece where the transfer was initiated by the Office of Defense Cooperation,” Marcus Mackey, USASAC G-3 mission support for EDA, said.
The U.S. will use this divestment from older equipment as an opportunity to further modernize its military.
“Such a transfer of military vehicles is a big project. It requires the sound cooperation and combined performance of both partners, Hellenic and U.S. Army. Subject matter experts are involved and working hard as a team to conduct this task successfully,” Lt. Col. Athanasios Natsios, security assistance liaison officer (Greece) assigned to USASAC, said.
Greece sought out the new weapons as a means of strengthening its geopolitical position in the region while simultaneously building on the country’s alliance with the U.S.
“The reuse of this property constitutes at the same time a challenge and an example of our enhanced cooperation, in order to make this equipment operationally capable to achieve our common objectives and strengthen our bonds,” Natsios added.
“It is another solid proof of the thriving strategic relationship between Greece and the U.S and cooperation between the Greek and American armed forces,” Panagiotopoulos said. “We believe that the best is yet to come and strategic cooperation is in an excellent state at the moment but there is more to do and we are all committed to doing more.”