Greece has signed a contract for the purchase of 15 Mirage 2000-5 Mk2 fighters, and the upgrade of 10 aircraft already in service to the new standard.

The deal, which includes 56 Matra BAe Dynamics Scalp cruise missiles and 200 MBDMica air-to-air missiles, along with electronic countermeasures equipment, is worth c1, 206 million ($1.1 billion) for the aircraft and c400 million for the missiles. Also included in the deal are options for three more new Mirage 2000-5MK2s and a further five upgrades.

Negotiations have been ongoing since the initial agreement was signed last year. Greece has also ordered 50 Lockheed MartinF-16s and elected to purchase between 60 and 90 Eurofighters.

Delivery of the new Mirages begins in August 2003, at a rate of two a month. The upgraded aircraft will arrive a few months earlier from Hellenic Aerospace Industries.

Greece is the fifth country to order the Scalp missile, following France, Italy, United Arab Emirates and the UK. It has also specified the infrared (IR)and radio-guided versions of the Mica. Development of the IR Mica has been delayed, but MBD says the missile will be delivered "at the same time as the other weapons".

Industry sources say the long-awaited deal with India for 10 Mirage 2000EHs, with weapons, will be signed "within a month".

Source: Flight International