Israel and Greece have agreed on their largest defense deal, which Israel announced would reinforce political and economic ties amid the two countries’ air forces preparing for a joint drill.
The agreement comprises a $1.65 billion indenture for the establishment and maneuver of a training center for the Hellenic Air Force by Israeli defense contractor Elbit Systems (ESLT.TA) over a 22-year period, Israel’s defense ministry held.
The training center will be demonstrated on Israel’s own flight academy and will be fortified with 10 M-346 training aircraft produced by Italy’s Leonardo (LDOF.MI), the ministry said.
Elbit Systems will supply kits for the advancement and operation of Greece’s T-6 aircraft and also provide training, simulators, and logistical support.
“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,” said Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz.
The announcement follows a meeting in Cyprus on Friday between the UAE, Greek, Cypriot, and Israeli foreign ministers, who agreed to deepen cooperation.
The Israeli and Greek air forces on Sunday launched a joint exercise in Greece, the Israeli military said.
In at least one past exercise over Greece, Israeli fighter planes practiced against an S-300 posted on Crete. The Russian-made air defense system is also deployed in Syria and Iran, which are regarded as Israel’s foes.