The first six of 24 Rafale fighter aircraft acquired by the Hellenic Air Force from France arrived in Greece on Wednesday, landing at the Tanagra air base where the 114 Combat Wing is based.
They took off from Istres in France and landed in Tanagra, where they will join the 332nd Squadron, after first flying over the Acropolis, escorted by two Mirage 2000-5 aircraft.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Defence Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos, Hellenic National Defence General Staff chief General Konstantinos Floros, Hellenic Air Force General Staff (HAFGS) chief Lieutenant General Georgios Blioumis and French Ambassador to Athens Patrick Maisonnave attended the ceremony.
Greece will receive 24 Rafale jets in total, with an additional contract for another six fighter jets expected to be signed over the next few weeks. The contract for the first 18, six new and 12 used, was signed approximately a year ago. Their cost, including their armaments, will be 2.32 billion euros.
Two of the six planes that arrived on Wednesday are two-seat training aircraft while the rest are single-seat planes. Eight Greek pilots and 50 technicians have already been trained to fly and maintain the aircraft.