The Greek government has awarded a $280 million contract to Lockheed Martin Corporation to upgrade its F-16 fighter jet fleet over the next seven years, according to media reports.
The DW has reported that Lockheed Martin and Greece signed the deal this week after finalizing details on Lockheed’s use of a Greek subcontractor.
The defense minister, Nikos Panagiotopoulos, told parliament earlier this month that 84 F-16 jets would be upgraded by 2027 to the advanced-tech Viper class in a program estimated at $1.5 billion.
He said the speed of the upgrade would be determined by how many aircraft are required to remain in active service.
Currently, Greece boasts about a fleet of some 150 F-16 fighters.
The U.S. State Department approved the potential deal in 2017, saying it advanced U.S. objectives “by helping to improve the security of a NATO ally which is an important partner for political stability and economic progress in Europe.”
The country has expanded defense ties with the United States in recent years, wary of Turkey’s military expansion. Disputes between the neighbors over airspace and maritime boundaries, as well as drilling rights for oil and gas in the East Mediterranean, remain unresolved.
That tension has escalated in recent months after Turkey sent drilling vessels off the northern coast of war-divided Cyprus and reached a maritime pact with Libya seen as challenging agreements between Greece, Israel, Cyprus and Egypt.