Amid rising tensions in the eastern Mediterranean due to Turkey’s escalating belligerence in the region, the Greek government announced an upgrade to its Armed Forces, including the acquisition of 18 French multi-role Dassault Rafale aircraft. Six of the new Rafale will be new and the rest will be slightly used by the French Air Force.
With this deal, the Hellenic Air Force (HAF) has effectively incorporated a whole new squadron of top 4.5 Gen fighter jets of the highest calibre into its defence network. The deal also includes the upgrading of 10 Mirage 2000s to the Mirage 2000-5 standard. Six of the new Rafale will be new and the rest will be slightly used by the French Air Force.
The Rafael (“Burst of Fire” or “Gust of Wind”) has seen combat action in the war theatres of Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Syria, Sudan and Mali.
Incorporating stealth technology, the Rafale is extremely agile, with a superior climb rate, sustained turn performance, and ability to super-cruise (maintain supersonic flight without using fuel-gulping afterburners) at Mach 1.4 while carrying weapons.
The Rafale’s all-moving canards—a second set of small wings near the nose—give the Rafale excellent lift and low-altitude speed and performance.
The backbone of the Greek air force are 114 Lockheed Martin F-16C/Ds, with an average age of 20.8 years. It also has 33 McDonnell Douglas F-4E Phantoms, with an average age of 44.8 years.
Greece is upgrading 82-84 of its F-16s to the F-16V standard. This will see the jets receive an active electronically scanned array radar in the form of the Northrop Grumman APG-83, which offers a number of improvements including greater detection and tracking ranges, interleaved air-to-air and air-to-surface modes, and improved electronic protection.
As for the air forces that have chosen it, the French Rafale has also been selected by India, Egypt and Qatar, while, according to official information.
The inclusion of such superior aircraft in Greece’s Air Force will definitely boost the country’s military deterrence power and possibly ‘dissuade’ any potential threats by NATO ‘allies’.