Greece to begin flying Rafale fighters, one year after order
The Hellenic Air Force will receive the first six Dassault Rafales it ordered in January 2021, part of an order for 12 used and six new fighters. The first batch will be composed of two twin-seat Rafale B and four Rafale C fighters.
The fighters will be ferried between January 17 and 19, 2022, by the first eight Greek pilots trained by the French Air Force and Dassault Aviation at Merignac Air Base, in southwestern France.
The Rafales will join the 114th Combat Wing of the HAF, located in Tanagra near Athens. Maintenance and support infrastructure for the new aircraft still needs to be completed at the Greek air base before they can be fully operational.
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.
Amid heightened territorial tensions with Turkey, Greece placed the order for 12 used Rafale jets of the French Air Force and six new ones, all to the F3R standard, as well as an array of weapons that include Exocet anti-ship missiles and SCALP cruise missiles. Taking the fighter jets from the French Air Force fleet allowed for faster and cheaper procurement.
On September 12, 2021, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced during the Thessaloniki International Fair that an additional order would be placed for six more Dassault Rafale fighter jets.
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