On Friday in Athens, the head of SIBAT, the International Defense Cooperation Directorate of Israel's Defense Ministry, Brig. Gen. (Res.) Yair Kulas, signed the biggest defense agreement ever between Israel and Greece. The Israeli Defense Ministry will establish, via Elbit Systems, an international flight training center for the Hellenic Air Force modeled on the IAF's flight school. The deal between the countries is worth about $1.65 billion. Cooperation between the flight schools of Israel and Greece will also be considered.
Under the agreement, Elbit Systems will supply new M-346 training aircraft and will maintain the entire training fleet, comprised of dozens of M-346 and T-6 training aircraft, for a period of about 20 years. In addition, the company will provide its latest advanced Embedded Virtual Avionics onboard the training aircraft, deliver networked flight simulators and an array of Ground-Based Training Stations as well as command and control systems to enable efficient management of the flight training operation.
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said "This cooperation agreement rests on the excellence of Israeli industry and on the strong relationship between the Greek and Israeli defense establishments over many years. I thank the Greek Minister of Defense, Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos, for advancing the deal that was discussed at the last trilateral meeting in Cyprus. I am confident that this upgrade in capabilities and this boost to the economies of Greece and Israel will deepen the partnership between the two countries on the defense, economic, and political levels."
The director of SIBAT at the Defense Ministry, Brig. Gen. (Res.) Yair Kulas, said "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."
The President and CEO of Elbit Systems, Bezhalel (Butzi) Machlis, said "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."