Dassault Aviation delivered the first Rafale fighter jet to Greece during a ceremony at the Dassault Aviation Flight Test Center in Istres, southeastern France, on July 21, 2021.
“Following the Mirage F1 in 1974, the Mirage 2000 in 1985 and the Mirage 2000-5 in 2000, the Rafale is now proudly flying with the Hellenic Air Force colors,” said Eric Trappier, Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation. ”It will play an active role by securing Greece’s leadership as a major regional power.”
This first aircraft and the five to follow will help in the training of a first batch of HAF pilots and 50 technicians at the Dassault Aviation Conversion Training Center (CTC) in Mérignac, France. Four pilots of the HAF already started training with the French Air and Space Force in April 2021 with the objective to become Rafale instructors.
A total of 18 Dassault Rafale fighter jets were ordered by the Hellenic Air Force in January 2021. The contract includes 12 used Rafale jets of the French Air Force and 6 new ones, all to the F3R standard, as well as an array of weapons that include Exocet anti-ship missiles and SCALP cruise missiles. The deduction of the fighter jets from the French Air Force fleet allowed a faster and cheaper procurement for Greece, which became the first European customer of the aircraft.
The squadron will eventually be located in Tanagra, Greece, the home base of the 114th Combat Wing of the HAF. The wing is accustomed to French-made aircraft: after flying the Mirage F1CG fighter from 1975 to 2003, it is currently equipped with the Mirage 2000-5.