With the approval of the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations now secured, Greece is one step closer to procuring the F-35. Credit: US Air Force / Public Domain
F-35 Sale to Greece Approved by US Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Greece is one step closer to procuring the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighter jet after the prospective sale was approved by US Senator Jim Risch, the most senior Republican on the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.
In February, the committee’s chair, US Senator Bob Menendez, granted approval to the deal. Additionally, Republican co-chair Michael McCaul and Gregory Meeks, the ranking Democrat on the committee, have also expressed their support for it.
With the required approvals now secured, the next step will be for the US government to notify Congress about the sale of F-35s to Greece, initiating the prescribed procedure for the contract’s ratification.
Greece seeks procurement of F-35
Greece sent an official request to the US for the purchase of twenty Lockheed Martin-made F-35 fighter jets last year. The Greek government first signaled that it was interested in the F-35 program in January 2021. Due to various procedures, the procurement process is lengthy.
Once the deduction of the SSI (security, supply, information) from the total price of the US-engineered aircraft is completed, the initial payment for the supply of the fifth-generation F-35 fighters is anticipated to be around €350 million.
Earlier this year, Turkey – which was removed from the F-35 program after purchasing the Russian-made S-400 missile system – comlained about the proposed sale of F-35 fighter jets to Greece. Although relations have seen a recent improvement between Athens and Ankara, the two countries have been locked in an intense game of brinkmanship over the Aegean in recent years.
According to Lockheed Martin’s official website for the F-35, the advanced fighter jet is “the most capable solution for the Hellenic Air Force.”
“The F-35 brings 5th Generation technologies, including low observable stealth with fighter aircraft performance, sensor fusion, net-enabled operations, and electronic warfare capabilities,” the website explains.
Lockheed Martin states that the F-35 presents Greece with the most cost-effective solution. They emphasize that the 5th Generation F-35 provides exceptional value, being the most capable aircraft with the lowest life-cycle cost, and offering extensive industrial participation opportunities.
Proponents for the procurement stress that Greece stands to gain from substantial investments made by current F-35 users, as well as savings resulting from economies of scale due to the increasing number of nations operating the F-35 in Europe and globally.