Greece has approved Israel’s bid for a 20-year, $1.68 billion defense contract for the establishment of a flight school for the Hellenic Air Force, Israel’s Defense Ministry announced on Monday. The defense procurement agreement, the signing of which now depends on negotiations with the Greek Defense Ministry, will be the largest ever between the two countries.

The agreement is a “long-term partnership” that “reflects the excellent and developing relations we have with Greece,” said Israel Defense Minister Benny Gantz, who added that it would create hundreds of jobs in both countries and “promote stability” in the Mediterranean.

Modeled after the Israel Air Force flight academy, the Greek school, which is to be established and operated by Israel’s Elbit Systems, will be equipped with 10 M-346 training aircraft produced by the Italian company Leonardo. The aircraft will be Israeli variants, known as “Lavi,” which, according to Elbit, are equipped with “unique avionics and embedded training solutions.”

These aircraft are also employed in the Israeli flight school and are considered very successful, according to the Defense Ministry statement.

Within the framework of the agreement, Elbit Systems will also provide kits to upgrade and operate the Hellenic Air Force’s Beechcraft T-6 Texan II training aircraft, as well as training, simulators and logistical support. In the future, the parties will also consider areas of cooperation between the Israeli and Greek flight academies.

Israel Defense Forces Brig. Gen. (Res.) Yair Kulas, the head of the Israeli Defense Ministry’s International Defense Cooperation Directorate, said, “The Greek government’s approval of this agreement is a historic step in further deepening the excellent defense relations between our two countries. 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.”


Jewish News Syndicate

With geographic, political and social divides growing wider, high-quality reporting and informed analysis are more important than ever to keep people connected.

Our ability to cover the most important issues in Israel and throughout the Jewish world—without the standard media bias—depends on the support of committed readers.

If you appreciate the value of our news service and recognize how JNS stands out among the competition, please click on the link and make a one-time or monthly contribution.

We appreciate your support.