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Greece receives first upgraded F-16s

Screenshot from a US Embassy in Athens video showing one of two upgraded Lockheed Martin F-16V Fighting Falcon combat aircraft delivered to the Hellenic Air Force on 12 September. (US Embassy in Athens)

The first Hellenic Air Force (HAF) F-16C/D Fighting Falcon combat aircraft to be upgraded to the latest F-16V standard were delivered to Greece on 12 September.

The US Embassy in Athens announced the delivery, releasing footage of the acceptance ceremony of the first two aircraft at Tanagra Air Base in central Greece.

The milestone came about 21 months after the first flight was completed at Lockheed Martin's Fort Worth facility in Texas in January 2021, and nearly four years after the US Department of Defense (DoD) awarded the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) a USD996.8 million Foreign Military Sales (FMS) contract to perform the upgrade work in December 2018.

With the initial two platforms having been upgraded in the United States, the remainder will be modernised by Hellenic Aerospace Industry (HAI) at its Tanagra facilities. Work is scheduled to be completed by 30 June 2027.

As the most advanced variant of the F-16 available today, the F-16V (known as the Block 70/72 in its new-build guise, depending on whether it is powered by the General Electric F100-GE-129D engine or the Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-229 EEP engine, respectively) features the Northrop Grumman AN/APG-83 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar (derived from the F-16E/F Block 60 AN/APG-80 and also known as the Scalable Agile Beam Radar [SABR]), a new Raytheon mission computer, the Link 16 datalink, modern cockpit displays, an enhanced electronic warfare system, and a ground collision avoidance system.

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