Greece has moved a step closer upgrading a fleet of Lockheed Martin F-16s with new radars, software-defined radios and other equipment.
The US State Department has approved a package of upgrades valued at $2.4 billion to raise the Hellenic Air Force's fleet to the F-16V standard, a Defense Security Cooperation Agency notice says.
During a joint speech at the White House with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras of Greece this week, President Donald Trump highlighted the potential sale and praised Greece’s commitment to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The president has criticised other NATO allies for not meeting failing to commit funds worth more than 2% of gross domestic product to national security.
“I also commend Greece for being one of the few NATO countries currently spending at least 2% of GDP (gross domestic product) on defence,” Trump says..
An upgrade to the F-16V configuration would represent a critical boost to the cash-strapped Hellenic Ministry of National Defense, which has operated under a constrained budget since the 2009 economic crisis. Meanwhile, Greece has watched its regional rival Turkey move forward with the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II and now its indigenous next-generation TF-X stealth fighter.
The sale, if Greece signs a contract, would replace Northrop Grumman's mechanically scanned APG-68 radars with the active electronically scanned APG-83, which is also known as Scaleable Agile Beam Radar (SABR). The F-16V also would feature the Link-16 Multifunctional Information Distribution System Joint Tactical Radio Systems (MIDS-JTRS).
Greece flies a mix of GE Aviation F110-powered Block 30 and Block 50 F-16s, plus the Pratt & Whitney F100-powered Block 52 version.