Howard Gethin/LONDON

Greece has selected the Raytheon Patriot missile system over the Russian S-300 (SA-12 Gladiator) to form the core of its air defence system upgrade. An order worth more than $1.1 billion is likely to follow final negotiations.

The announcement came at the end of the Defendory International exhibition in Athens on 9 October, which also saw several other missile contracts revealed, as well as the selection of the Raytheon T-6 Texan II as the Greek air force's new basic trainer.

Greece also ordered a Hawk Phase III upgrade, likely to be worth around $145 million, to extend the life of the surface-to-air missile (SAM) system into the next century, and purchased Thomson-CSF Crotale NG and Antey Tor-M1 tactical SAM systems from France and Russia, respectively.

Raytheon Systems will provide logistic and engineering services to Greece in support of the Patriot and Greek industry.

The upgrade of the Hawk, for which Raytheon has teamed with Norway's Kongsberg Gruppen ASA, includes the Fire Distribution Centre, which improves interoperability with the Patriot, as well as improvements in effectiveness and maintainability of the overall system. The orders are a boost for Raytheon Systems, which has recently announced 14,000 job losses as part of a major cost-cutting drive.

The order for Crotale NG (Nouvelle Generation) mobile surface-to-air missiles, using VT1 missiles, is worth more than Fr1 billion ($183 million). Nine systems will be delivered to the Greek air force and two to the navy.

Greece also signed a $100 million deal with Russia to buy 21 Tor (9M331) mobile low- to medium- altitude SAM systems for the army. The Tor is a short-range - 12km (7 miles) - radar-guided weapon, produced by Antey NPO. The weapon may also be purchased by Cyprus, depending on whether the Italian Government allows the sale of a follow-on batch of Alenia Aspide surface-to-air missiles. The sale is the first Tor export to a European country outside the CIS.

The value of Greece's order for the T-6 Texan II basic trainer aircraft amounts to $200 million for 45 aircraft. Raytheon won the contract against competition from the Embraer Super Tucano and Pilatus PC-9G. Deliveries are likely to begin in 1999, continuing through to 2002. The contract covers spares and a ground-based training system, as well as an industrial co-operation benefits package.

Source: Flight International