The Greek Air Force (HAF) is currently looking for a buyer for its aging fleet of Dassault Aviation Mirage 2000 EGM/BGMs, which were retired in 2022.
Sources have told local news publication Kathimerini that the HAF leadership is considering selling the jets to India. Discussions are already underway between Greek defense authorities and their counterparts.
Until their decommission, the fighters were operated by the 332 Squadron ‘Hawks’ of the HAF 114 Combat Wing, established at Tanagra Air Base near Athens. The 18 Mirage 2000 aircraft were acquired by Greece in the late 1980s and were officially retired in January 2022 upon the arrival of the Dassault Rafale fighters. India has expressed interest in purchasing these jets to support its fleet of about 44 Mirage 2000H/I. Though the Greek fleet’s planes may not all be airworthy, India would most likely cannibalize them for parts.
What about the Hellenic Air Force Mirage 2000-5 fleet?
The Greek Air Force is also considering the future of its newer Mirage 2000-5 aircraft, currently operated by the 331 Squadron ‘Theseus’. The Mirage 2000-5 is a variant of the fighter aircraft, designed for air superiority.
Kathimerini reports that, although the Greek 2000-5s have seen some upgrades made over time, they are currently encountering difficulties keeping up with contemporary network-centric operations. The implementation of Link-16 terminals, which would enhance communication with other aircraft, has been put on hold owing to concerns about cost and effectiveness.
Making room for newer fighters
In January 2021, the government of Greece placed an order for 18 Rafale jets from France. 12 of these were used aircraft from the French Air Force, while the remaining six were new jets built to the F3R standard. Additionally, the order included various weapons such as Exocet anti-ship missiles and SCALP cruise missiles.
Greece’s decision to acquire these jets was fueled by escalating territorial tensions with Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean. By purchasing second-hand aircraft, Greece was able to expedite the delivery of the jets.
A further six new Rafale jets were ordered in March 2022, and it has been announced that Greece plans to acquire up to 40 of these French jets before 2025. The sale of the Mirage 2000 jets could potentially fund additional Rafale orders.
Greece is also set to acquire 40 Lockheed Martin F-35A fifth-generation fighters at a cost of around $8.6 billion.