Lockheed Martin: Upgrade of 85 Greek F-16s to cost $1.528 billion

Lockheed Martin’s VP Business Development Initiatives in Europe Dennis Plessas -Leonidis in an interview with Greek official AMNA news agency spoke of the programs related to Greece, the possibilities of co-production programs that will or will take place in Greece and their evolution, as well as for the future.

He also presented developments around the current F-16V GR program, with a projected maximum cost of $ 1,528 billion, which he estimated under the agreed parameters would create about 300 new jobs in the Hellenic Aerospace Industries (HAI) alone.

According to Plessas, this is a necessary agreement for the Hellenic Air Force, since “the upgraded F-16s with electronic scanning array radar (AESA), with modern LINK 16 communication systems, modern sensors, and safety systems, like the ground collision avoidance system, they create a modern fleet capable of responding to current and future threats in our region.

At the same time they provide the necessary interoperability with 5th generation F-35 fighters, as well as with various other land and sea platforms. ”

As he said, the upgrade program will largely solve the availability problems of aircraft that were expected to increase in the near future, due to the aging of current systems and the reduction of production sources, the aircraft will be able to carry new weapons and sensors.

The cost of the interstate agreement (LOA) to upgrade the F-16 is $ 1,528 billion, of which $ 998 million is Lockheed Martin’s contract with the US government, and the remaining $ 530 million is the cost of services and materials provided by the US Government (USAF).

According to Mr. Plessas-Leonidis, the FMS (Foreign Military Sales) LOA process ensures both the transparency of the program as well as its implementation within the set technical specifications, as well as the costs specified above.

To the question “What will be the level of involvement of the Greek defense industry, and more specifically of the ODA in the program, be? To what extent will the Greek production base participate and what will Greece achieve at a sub-construction level? “Lockheed Martin’s VP replied:

“The benefits for the Greek aviation industry are twofold. The first concerns the involvement of the defense industry itself. I must tell you that the F-16 fighter upgrade program, has been designed by the US government and F-16 builder Lockheed Martin, is designed to maximize the involvement of the domestic defense industry, while also ensuring full security in the supply and information of the weapon system. It is noteworthy that the domestic defense industry is going to implement all phases of the program in Greece, with the exception of the design and development, the procurement of individual electronic devices and the development of the required software to be carried out by the manufacturer in the US.

In this way, the domestic industry will secure hundreds of millions of dollars from participation, being actively involved in the program. The ODA is going to integrate all of these upgrades and with the exception of one prototype aircraft no other F-16 will leave Greece to undergo any upgrades in the US.

At the same time, apart from HAI, several Greek defense industries will be actively involved in the project offering sub-construction in support of this upgrade (design and construction of cabling, design and construction of support components, special tools, etc.). and will benefit from benefits through SSI programs.

The Greek defense industry will thus receive significant industrial returns and a large workload worth up to $ 265,000,000 out of the $ 1,528,000,000 of total program cost, providing new jobs, ensuring the sustainability of HAI and increasing its economic growth, these programs will, in fact, involve new technologies and new infrastructures. Technologies that will greatly facilitate the upgrading work that takes place at HAI. In order to enable all this, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Greek Parliament must first approve these programs. It’s something I hope will happen very soon. ”

At the same time, the Hellenic Air Force may be preparing to acquire 85 upgraded Viper F-16V GR fighter jets but for some years now the process of seeking information from the competent services of the Ministry of Defense for the so-called 5th Generation fighter aircraft has begun. 

These are aircraft that are being deployed by air forces around the world, and the 5th Generation American Joint Strike Fighter – known to the general public as the F-35 fighter – a request to access the information has been sent from Greece to the US Armed Forces.

This was done in the manner prescribed by the procedures, namely the so-called Letter of Request for Information received by the American side from Greece about two years ago, as Mr Plessas explained.