A yet unconfirmed report by the military news website Defense World states that “as the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is expected to progress on its desire to buy F-35 jets, it could be looking to sell some of its F-16 jets, probably to Greece to which it dispatched four “Desert Falcons” for participation in exercises with the Hellenic Air Force (HAF)”.
The continues as follows:
The move could have political benefits for Abu Dhabi as it seeks to weigh in on the side of Greece in Turkey’s dispute with Athens over Eastern Mediterranean hydrocarbon prospecting.
While Abu Dhabi has given no indication so far that its F-16s are for sale, it may not need 80 of them if it gets to buy an estimated 12 F-35s from the US following its peace deal with Israel.
UAE’s F-16s are among the most advanced in the world. First received in 2004, its fleet of 80 F-16 jets feature a Northrop Grumman APG-80 AESA radar, conformal fuel tanks as standard, an integrated Northrop Grumman electronic warfare system and a MIL-STD 1773 databus. Called the Block 60, they are just a step behind the F-16 Block 70/72 Viper- the latest iteration of the venerable American fighter.
For Greece, the UAE F-16s would introduce them to the most modern F-16s short of the F-16 Viper and immediately help to a large extent, match its Air Force against that of Turkey’s.
Greece boasts a fleet of some 150 F-16 fighters. In December 2019, Greek Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos told the parliament that 84 of the HAF’s 150 F-16s would be upgraded to the advanced Viper class by 2027 costing $1.5 billion. The upgrades are only expected to arrive starting 2027 and until then it will be vulnerable to Turkey’s advanced fighter planes.
Read more: Defense World