US State Dept approves $2.4 billion Greek F-16 upgrade as PM Tsipras visits White House

The U.S. State Department approved the $2.4 billion upgrade of Greek F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter jets to the F-16 Block V configuration, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency said.

The F-16V, known by the Viper nickname, features a new radar, mission computer and electronic warfare suite, and various cockpit improvements.

“This proposed sale will contribute to U.S. foreign policy and national security objectives by helping to improve the security of a NATO ally which is an important partner for political stability and economic progress in Europe,” DSCA said in a press release on Tuesday, October 17.

“The total estimated program cost is $2.404 billion,” the release stated, noting that Congress was notified of the possible sale the previous day.

“Greece will use this capability as a deterrent to regional threats, strengthen its homeland defense, and execute counter-terrorism operations,” the release said, adding that the upgrade will “bolster the Hellenic Air Force’s ability to support NATO and remain interoperable with the U.S. and the NATO alliance.”

The package includes adding a wide range of new equipment to 123 of Greece’s F-16s, including APG-83 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radars, Modular Mission Computers (MMCs), LN260 Embedded Global Navigation Systems (EGI)/Inertial Navigation Systems (INS), and Improved Programmable Display Generators (iPDGs).

Also included are an F-16V Simulator and upgrades to two existing simulators, secure communications, cryptographic equipment, navigation equipment, spares and repair parts, support and test equipment, training and support services.

The principal contractor will be Lockheed Martin, according to the release.

Greek Prime Minister Tsipras meets Trump at the White House

The DSCA announcement came on the same day that Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras met U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House, where they discussed cooperation on defense, energy, commerce, and trade.

On the possible F-16 upgrade, Trump said the agreement would strengthen the Hellenic Air Force and would “generate thousands of American jobs”

Trump commended Greece for being “one of the few NATO countries currently spending at least 2 percent of GDP on defense.”

Greece to upgrade 85 F-16 fighter jets to Viper configuration

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