Israel and Greece sign record defense deal | Military News

The deal includes a $ 1.65 billion contract to establish and operate a training center for the Greek Air Force.

Israel and Greece signed their biggest defense purchase agreement, which Israel said would strengthen political and economic ties between the countries as the two countries’ air forces launched a joint exercise.

The deal includes a $ 1.65 billion contract for the establishment and operation of a training center for the Hellenic Air Force by Israeli defense contractor Elbit Systems over a period of 22 years , the Israeli Defense Ministry announced on Sunday.

The training center will be modeled after Israel’s own flight academy and will be equipped with 10 M-346 trainers produced by Italy’s Leonardo, the ministry said.

Elbit will provide kits to upgrade and operate Greek T-6 aircraft and will also provide training, simulators and logistical support.

“I am sure that (this program) will improve the capabilities and strengthen the economies of Israel and Greece and thus the partnership between our two countries will deepen at the defense, economic and political levels,” said the Israeli minister. of Defense Benny Gantz.

The announcement follows a meeting in Cyprus on Friday between the foreign ministers of the United Arab Emirates, Greece, Cyprus and Israel, who agreed to deepen cooperation.

The Israeli and Greek air forces launched a joint exercise in Greece on Sunday, the IDF said.

In at least one exercise over Greece, Israeli warplanes trained against an S-300 stationed in Crete. The Russian-made air defense system is also deployed in Israel’s enemies Syria and Iran.

A source from the Hellenic National Defense Command said the S-300 was not activated during the joint exercise which began on Sunday.

Israel, Greece and Cyprus have taken several steps in recent months to cement ties, including advancing plans to build a 2,000-megawatt submarine power cable and 1,900-km submarine gas pipeline ( 1300 miles), a movement that irritated regional rival of Turkey.

Last month, the Israeli army said he led a joint naval exercise with Greece and Cyprus.

Greece and Cyprus are in the throes of a dispute with Turkey, which has sent gas prospecting vessels into waters claimed by Greece and drilling ships to an area where Cyprus claims exclusive rights.

The tension brought NATO allies Greece and Turkey close to open conflict last year, but tensions have eased since.

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