Greece Will Soon Have the F-35 Stealth Fighter

F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Stealth
January 29, 2024 Topic: Security Region: Europe Blog Brand: The Buzz Tags: F-35F-35AGreeceTurkeyNATOMilitaryDefense

Greece Will Soon Have the F-35 Stealth Fighter

Valued at approximately $8.6 billion, the likely foreign military sale to Greece concerns two squadrons of F-35A Lighting II aircraft, maintenance, and support.  


Greece is set to become the newest member of the F-35 stealth fighter jet program

On Friday, the U.S. State Department greenlighted a potential sale of 40 F-35A Lighting II stealth fighter jets to Greece. 


F-35 Lighting IIs over the Acropolis 

Valued at approximately $8.6 billion, the possible foreign military sale concerns two squadrons of F-35A Lighting II aircraft, as well as maintenance and support.  

“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy goals and national security of the United States by improving the air capabilities and interoperability of a NATO Ally that is a force for political and economic stability in Europe,” the State Department stated in a press release

Athens has already agreed with the Pentagon and Lockheed Martin about the delivery timeline and expects the first stealth fighter jets to taxi in the end of 2028. The Hellenic Air Force plans to have its first F-35 squadron reach initial operating capability in the early 2030s. 

“The proposed sale will allow Greece to modernize its air force and improve Greece’s ability to provide for the defense of its airspace, contribute to NATO missions to preserve regional security and defend NATO Allies, and maintain interoperability with U.S. and NATO forces,” the State Department added. 

The final signatures will fall at the end of the year or the start of 2025. 

“Greece will have no difficulty absorbing these articles and services into its armed forces,” the State Department added. 

The most advanced fighter jet in the skies today, the F-35 Lighting II is an extremely capable aircraft. It comes in three versions: The F-35A is the conventional iteration. The F-35B is the Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) version that can take off and land like a helicopter. Finally, the F-35C is the carrier iteration of the stealth fighter jet.


All three versions have similar capabilities and can excel in several mission sets, including Strategic Attack, Air Superiority, Close Air Support, Electronic Warfare, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR), Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD), and Destruction Enemy Air Defense (DEAD). 


Modernization & Geopolitical Chess 

The Hellenic Air Force plans to use the F-35 Lighting II fighter jets to replace older aircraft, such as the F-4 Phantom. This is part of a wider modernization effort that has seen the acquisition of a squadron of Dassault Rafale F3R fighter jets from France, as well as the modernization of scores of F-16 aircraft. Indeed, this is the second major aircraft contract between Greece and the U.S. in the past couple of years. In 2022, the Hellenic Air Force received its first F-16 Block 70/72 “Viper” Fighting Falcon fighter jets. 


The winds of major military change are blowing in the Eastern Mediterranean. On the same day the U.S. greenlighted Greece’s request for F-35 Lighting II stealth fighter jets, it also approved Turkey’s request to modernize its F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter jet fleet. Overall, both programs are valued at almost $32 billion. 

About the Author  

Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations and a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ). He holds a BA from Johns Hopkins University and an MA from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP. Email the author: [email protected].

All images are Creative Commons.