Greece is better protected than ever following the deals to acquire upgraded and next-generation fighter aircraft, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said while visiting the facilities of the Hellenic Aviation Industry (HAI) in Tanagra, Viotia on Tuesday for the inauguration of a new HAI technical centre.
“With the new Rafale fighter jets and the upgrading of the F-16s, as well as the squadron of F-35s later on, the Greek skies are being shielded as never before,” Mitsotakis said.
The prime minister referred to to the “twin pillars that support Greece today” and noted that these were “the patriotism of responsibility, which wants Greece to always be a strong deterrent force but also the promoter of peace” combined with “a growth course, which returns a fair dividend to the citizens”.
He said that Greece was responding to open threats “with decisive readiness toward all boastful belligerence,” while adding: “Those who brag that they may arrive suddenly during the night, should be aware that they may wake up one night having landed in harsh reality”.
“I will say once again: our country does not enter into dialogue with what is absurd,” Mitsotakis stressed.
Referring to the cooperation between HAI and Lockheed Martin, Mitsotakis noted: “They are making us proud as they confirm the conscientiousness in the programme to strengthen the Air Force.”
Mitsotakis noted that HAI’s ‘spearhead’ programmes were the upgrade of the F-16 jets and the completion of the P3 Orion, as well as the maintenance of C130 military transport aircraft and Greece’s firefighting aircraft.
The prime minister also clarified that with 700 new hirings, HAI now had 2000 highly qualified staff and a new collective labour contract, while announcing the start of “the process for finding a strategic investor with a percentage up to 49 pct” and clarifying that the Greek State will always retain a majority of HAI shares.