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First Rafales arrive in Greece

The first six of an initial batch of 18 Dassault Rafale combat aircraft ordered by the Hellenic Air Force (HAF) arrived in Greece on 19 January. The aircraft were flown to the HAF's 332 Squadron at Tanagra Air Base in the south of the country and form part of an overall order for 24 platforms.

The delivery of four single-seat and two twin-seat jets comes seven months after the HAF officially received the Rafales during a formal handover ceremony at the Dassault Aviation Flight Test Centre in France in July 2021.

The initial batch of 18 Rafales were ordered in January 2021 and comprise 12 surplus French Air and Space Force twin- and single-seat aircraft and six new-build aircraft. A follow-on order for six aircraft was announced by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakisin September 2021, although he did not say whether these would be surplus or new build.

Greece's Rafales are at the current F3R standard, which has been developed by Dassault Aviation, Thales, MBDA, and Safran. It comprises major software and hardware upgrades that include the integration of the Meteor beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile and the latest laser-guided version of the Sagem Armement Air-Sol Modulaire modular air-to-ground precision weapon, the Thales RBE2 active electronic scanned array radar, the Thales TALIOS long-range airborne targeting pod, an automatic ground collision avoidance system, an improved buddy-buddy refuelling pod, and the Spectra electronic warfare system. The latest version of the Rafale will continue to carry the enhanced medium-range, air-to-ground missile as part of airborne nuclear deterrence missions.

Separate to the aircraft, Greece and France signed a EUR400 million (USD454 million) deal for Meteor missiles, and to upgrade Mica air-to-air missiles, Scalp cruise missiles, and Exocet anti-ship missiles that are already in the HAF inventory for carriage aboard the Rafales.

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