Israel and Greece have signed their biggest ever defence procurement deal, which would strengthen political and economic ties between the countries. Also, the two countries’ air forces launched a joint exercise in Greece.
According to the Defence Minister of Israel, this record defence programme would upgrade the capabilities and strengthen the economies of Israel and Greece and thus the partnership between our two countries will deepen on the defence, economic and political levels.
- The agreement includes a $1.65 billion contract for the establishment and operation of a training centre for the Hellenic Air Force by Israeli defence contractor Elbit Systems (ESLT.TA) over a 22-year period.
- The training centre will be modelled on Israel’s own flight academy and will be equipped with 10 M-346 training aircraft produced by Italy’s Leonardo (LDOF.MI)
- Elbit will supply kits to upgrade and operate Greece’s T-6 aircraft and also provide training, simulators and logistical support.
- The announcement follows a meeting in Cyprus between the UAE, Greek, Cypriot and Israeli foreign ministers, who agreed to deepen cooperation in fields ranging from energy to fighting COVID, saying budding ties could change the face of a region more synonymous with conflict. The meeting highly focussed on ways to enhance joint action in facing the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, medical research and the distribution of vaccines, as well as energy security in the region.
- Israel, Greece and Cyprus have taken several steps in recent months to cement ties, including advancing plans to build a 2,000-megawatt undersea electricity cable and a 1,900km (1,300-mile) undersea gas pipeline.
2. Israel conducted a joint naval exercise with Greece and Cyprus last month.
The agreement was signed after a meeting held in Cyprus between Greek, UAE, Cypriot and Israel. Israel and Greece have practiced against the S-300 missiles during their exercises in the past. The S-300, a Russian made air defence system has been deployed in Iran and Syria. However, the recent joint exercises did not use S-300 missiles. Israel considers Iran and Syria as its foe.