A Greek Patriot air-defence unit was activated on 20 January ahead of its deployment to Saudi Arabia, government spokesman Stelios Petsas said in a radio interview on 3 February.
He said about 130 personnel will be deployed to Saudi Arabia, which is covering all the costs.
Petsas said the deployment “contributes to ensuring stability in the region and to energy security that has been affected in the past and has a major impact on the Greek economy”.
He added that Greece is “trying to re-energise” relations with the Gulf Arab countries as part of its response to Turkish provocations but stressed the Patriot deployment would not jeopardise its relations with Saudi Arabia’s neighbours as it is a purely defensive system.
The opposition SYRIZA movement has criticised the deployment on the basis that it is not part of a multinational mission and will weaken Greece’s air defence.
The Hellenic Air Force’s 350 Guided Missile Wing has operated Patriot PAC 3 systems with MIM-104D Guidance Enhance Missiles since 2002–03. It has six guided missile squadrons (21-26) equipped with the system.
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