Greece intends to increase its military spending to EUR5.5 billion this year, five times the amount spent in 2020, according to the French press.
Athens decided to purchase 18 Rafale aircraft from France, amid the ongoing tension with Turkey over energy resources in the southeastern Mediterranean.
Under the contract, six new Rafale aircraft will be purchased from the manufacturer, “Dassault Aviation,” whose deliveries are to begin in 2022.
Athens, which wants to obtain without delay aircraft that guarantee its air superiority in the Aegean Sea, has also bought 12 used aircraft from Paris and will receive them from the stock of the French Air Force.
The contract, worth EUR 2.5 billion, includes 12 used aircraft and six new aircraft with their weapons. Negotiations on the contract took a record time between the two governments, and the Greek parliament approved it in mid-January.
French Minister of Armed Forces Florence Parly will travel to Athens on Monday to sign the contract to sell the 18 Rafale fighter jets to Greece.
In addition to purchasing the Rafale fighters, Athens plans to purchase frigates, helicopters and drones, modernize its fleet of F-16s and recruit an additional 15,000 soldiers.
In the summer, France and Greece held joint military exercises in the Mediterranean.
Greece has announced its intention to strengthen its military capabilities in 2021, despite its economy shrinking by more than ten percent in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, as the country continues to recover from a decade-long debt crisis.
Greece has also announced the extension of the mandatory military service from nine to 12 months.