Israel’s Defense Ministry and the Hellenic Ministry of National Defense on Friday signed a purchase agreement in the amounts of approximately NIS 5.4 billion ($1.65 Billion) which includes the establishment and operation by Elbit Systems of an international flight training center for the Hellenic Air Force, over a period of 22 years.
The Head of the Directorate for International Defense Cooperation (SIBAT) in the Israel Ministry of Defense, Brig. Gen. (Res.), Yair Kulas, signed Israel’s biggest defense agreement to date, with Greece. As part of the agreement, the Israel Ministry of Defense and Elbit Systems will lead the establishment of an International Flight Training Center for the Hellenic Air Force. Modeled after the Israel Air Force (IAF) flight academy, the Greek International Flight Training Center will be equipped with 10 M-346 training aircraft produced by the Italian company, Leonardo.
Defense Minister, Benny Gantz aid in a statement: “This cooperation agreement rests on the excellence of Israel’s defense industry and the strong relations between the defense establishments of Greece and Israel. I thank the Greek Minister of Defense, Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos for promoting the agreement, which we had discussed at the last trilateral meeting held in Cyprus. I am certain that [this program] will upgrade the capabilities and strengthen the economies of Israel and Greece and thus the partnership between our two countries will deepen on the defense, economic and political levels.”
Within the framework of the agreement, Elbit Systems will provide kits to upgrade and operate the Hellenic Air Force’s T-6 aircraft. Elbit will also provide training, simulators, and logistical support. In the future, the parties will also consider areas of cooperation between the Israeli flight academy and Hellenic Airforce Academy.
SIBAT Director Brig. Gen. (res.) Yair Kulas said in a statement: “The strategic partnership between the Israel Ministry of Defense and Hellenic Ministry of National Defense is further cemented today, via the signing of the most expansive and one of the most significant defense agreements to date. I would like to thank the Hellenic Ministry of National Defense for choosing Israel and we look forward to future opportunities for partnership and collaboration.”
President and CEO of Elbit Systems, Bezhalel (Butzi) Machlis, said in a statement: “We are honored to have been awarded this contract to provide such an important capability to the Hellenic Air Force. This contract award attests to the leading position we hold in the area of training, providing tested know-how and proven technologies that improve readiness while reducing costs.”