April 18, 2021
An Israeli Beechcraft Air King (L) and an Israeli Efroni T-6 Texan II plane(R) perform during an air show at the graduation ceremony of Israeli air force pilots. (File/AFP)
JERUSALEM – Israel and Greece have signed their biggest ever defence procurement deal, which Israel said on Sunday (April 18) would strengthen political and economic ties between the countries.
The agreement includes a US$1.65 billion contract for the establishment and operation of a training centre for the Hellenic Air Force by Israeli defence contractor Elbit Systems over a 22-year period, Israel’s Defence Ministry said.
The training centre will be modelled on Israel’s own flight academy and will be equipped with 10 M-346 training aircraft produced by Italian company Leonardo, the ministry said.
Elbit will supply kits to upgrade and operate Greece’s T-6 aircraft and also provide training, simulators and logistical support.
“I am certain that (this programme) will upgrade the capabilities and strengthen the economies of Israel and Greece and thus the partnership between our two countries will deepen on the defence, economic and political levels,” said Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz.
The announcement follows a meeting in Cyprus on Friday between the United Arab Emirates, Greek, Cypriot and Israeli foreign ministers, who agreed to deepen cooperation between their countries.