In “the biggest defense agreement to date” between Israel and Greece, the two Mediterranean countries signed a $1.65 billion defense procurement deal on Sunday.
The deal includes the establishment and maintenance of a training center for the Hellenic Air Force by Israeli defense contractor Elbit Systems for a period of 22 years and a supply of 10 new M-346 training aircraft manufactured by Italian company Leonardo.
The training center is said to be modeled on the Israeli Air Force flight academy. Aside from supplying kits for the upgrade and operation of the Hellenic Air Force’s T-6 aircraft, Elbit will also provide training and logistical support.
“I am certain that [this program] will upgrade the capabilities and strengthen the economies of Israel and Greece and thus the partnership between our two countries will deepen on the defense, economic and political levels,” said Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz in a statement.
The Israel & Hellenic Ministries of Defense have signed the biggest defense agreement to date between Israel and Greece. It amounts to around NIS 5.4 billion and includes the establishment of an International Flight Training Center for the Hellenic Air Force, by @ElbitSystemsLtd pic.twitter.com/TNulvgcZCN
— Ministry of Defense (@Israel_MOD) April 18, 2021
The announcement came after a meeting in Cyprus on Friday attended by the UAE, Greece, Cyprus, and Israel. Each country’s foreign minister agreed to deepen ties and cooperation among their countries amidst common concerns over Turkey’s aggression in the Eastern Mediterranean.
“This cooperation agreement rests on the excellence of Israeli industry and on the strong, long standing relations between the defense establishments of Israel and Greece. I thank the Greek defense minister, Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos, for advancing this deal, which we discussed during the latest trilateral meeting in Cyprus,” said Gantz.
Both countries are also considering establishing flight schools in the future.