After India, France to sell 18 Rafale jets to Greece amid growing tensions with Turkey


Amid heightened tensions between Greece and Turkey, France is said to have lent a hand to the former by equipping them with 18 Dassault Rafale fighter jets to fight their Mediterranean neighbors. The Rafales were all over the media after India received the first batch of French-made jets amid clashes with China.

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According to local media, the contract between the French and Greek governments is at an advanced stage, which will see the Hellenic Air Force add an entire squadron of Rafale to its existing fleet of Lockheed F-16 Fighting Falcons, from Dassault. Mirage 2000 and McDonnell. -Douglas F-4 Phantom II. The transaction is expected to close by the end of the year.

What is assumed is that the deal will run into two parts, one being the purchase of 10 new Rafale, while the second being that the remaining jets will be split as a gift to Athens. The eight Rafales were said to have been the jets that bombed Turkish installations at al-Watiya air base in Libya.

The Dassault Rafale is a French twin-engine, canard-delta wing, multirole combat aircraft equipped with a wide range of weapons, the Rafale is intended to perform air supremacy, interdiction, air reconnaissance, ground support, deep strike, anti-ship strike and nuclear deterrence missions.

It is fitted with two Snecma M88 engines, each capable of delivering up to 50 kN (11,250 lbf) of dry thrust and 75 kN (16,900 lbf) with afterburner. The M88 allows the Rafale to super cruise while carrying four missiles and a drop tank. While not exactly a stealth aircraft, the Rafale was designed for a reduced radar cross section (RCS) and infrared signature, meaning it has stealth characteristics, which been neither exaggerated nor overexcited.

If the deal goes through, the fighters would indeed add tremendous air power to Greece’s hands as they fight Turkish forces to fight for power in the Mediterranean region.

Tensions between Ankara and Athens have soared in recent days after Greece contested Turkey’s energy exploration in the eastern Mediterranean as it tried to box in Turkish maritime territory based on small islands near the Turkish coast .

Turkey – the country with the longest coastline in the Mediterranean – has sent drilling ships to explore reserves on its continental shelf, claiming Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) have rights in the region. .

Recently, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) joined a list of countries supporting Greece, as the Arab nation sent four F-16 fighter jets to participate in a joint exercise with the Hellenic Air Force. According to reports, the jets will be stationed at Souda Bay air base and undertake joint military exercises with the Greek armed forces over the eastern Mediterranean.

Following the move, Turkish officials immediately retaliated by issuing a warning that they will “shoot down” Emirati fighter jets if they dangerously approach or violate its airspace. “We will not hesitate to shoot down a UAE plane if it approaches Turkish waters or the Orus Reis working area near the island of Crete in the eastern Mediterranean,” said one source of Turkish defense at Al-Quds Al-Araby.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said his country is not looking for problems with the Greeks and dialogue may be the only solution. “If we act with common sense and reason, we can find a win-win solution that meets everyone’s interests,” he said.


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