UNSI: Greece overhauling military with new helicopters & frigates, updating US Defense Pact

What makes E. Mediterranean particularly volatile is Turkey’s neo-Ottoman ambitions which threaten not only Greece but the integrity of NATO

Despite its struggling economy and escalating tensions with neighboring Turkey, Greece is pushing ahead on overhauling its military, according to its defense minister.

Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos said “acquiring high-end weapons systems” would include buying anti-submarine warfare helicopters, as well as modernizing four frigates already in the Hellenic Navy and F-16s in its air force. Greece is “revamping the entirety of our armed forces,” including acquiring four frigates, and the country is updating its defense pact with the United States.

He added that Greece is also committed to upgrading the port of Alexandroupolis on its northeastern coast to “be the transportation hub” for NATO in the Balkans and its logistical base for Black Sea operations. He said elements of the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division used the facilities recently as part of the Defender Europe 21 exercise.

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“Our aspiration is to make [the port and the mutual defense agreement] even better,” he said during a Center for Strategic and International Studies online forum on Tuesday. For the port, the improvements include extending piers to handle larger ships and expanding its fuel storage facilities. Other work involves rail, highway and pipeline connections to the rest of Europe.

Read more: USNI