N. Panagiotopoulos from Tanagra: Today is a historic day for the homeland

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The Minister of National Defense, Nikos Panagiotopoulos, spoke about a “historic day” during today’s arrival of the first six Rafale fighter aircraft of the Air Force at the 114th Battle Wing in Tanagra.

Earlier, welcoming the modern fighter jets, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis had stressed, among other things: “The new Rafale is ready to take off for a better, more peaceful tomorrow, for the whole region.” “Conviction”, continued K. Mitsotakis, “was and is of this government that the economic and social development must be framed by the shielding of security and the elevation of the national dignity”.

N. Panagiotopoulos underlined that “about a year after the signing of the relevant contract, the first six Rafale with Greek colors on the wings and Greek pilots in the cockpits came to settle in the 114th Battle Wing, which for decades was the historic headquarters of the Mirage, operating and still operate in the ranks of the Air Force. ”

According to the minister, the Rafale came “to make a difference in the balance of power in the heavens”. “It is a day when I have the right to feel proud and excited but not satisfied yet – more needs to be done” added N. Panagiotopoulos.

“The effort to shield Greece through the reinforcement of the Armed Forces continues and there is no room for anyone to rest,” he said, congratulating all those who worked to achieve the acquisition of the aircraft by the Air Force so quickly “under adversity”. , as he characteristically referred to, “conditions”.

In addition to the six aircraft, as N. Panagiotopoulos stressed, “are now in development in Tanagra and in operational readiness and the entire ground support network and personnel, ground technicians” which is a necessary condition “for the full integration of Rafale in ranks of the Air Force “.

For his part, the Chief of the General Staff of the National Defense, General Konstantinos Floros, gave “warm congratulations” to all those who worked to bring the modern Rafale fighter aircraft to Greece.

“It was,” he said, “an effort that was made quickly,” while noting that “the Armed Forces are planning their future based on a stable present.”

Referring to Rafale, the commander of the 332nd Squadron stressed “that the integration of the aircraft into the Air Force is being implemented in less than a year”.

“The Rafale aircraft,” he added, “with its weapons become the most effective against ground strategic targets with the Scalp missile and against naval targets with the Exocet missile. At the same time, the Meteor missile gives it unprecedented capabilities to engage large air targets distances beyond the horizon “.

“The weapons that the Rafale carries,” said Lt. Gen. Michael Kourtis, “combined with the state-of-the-art systems that make it a game changer.”

As he said, the arrival of Rafale marks “the withdrawal of the Mirage 2000 aircraft, which joined the Air Force in 1988”.

“From then until today,” he added, “the Mirage 2000 serves in the 332 Squadron with the main role of interception and a special role against surface targets with the Exocet missile.”

“In the 34 years that they served in the Air Force, the Mirage 2000 carried out more than 130,000 flight hours in training missions, participating in national and international exercises, in Greece and abroad, displaying the Greek flag,” concluded the commander of the 332 Squadron.

Dassault CEO Eric Trapier emphasized the strategic importance of acquiring aircraft from Greece and emphasized the rapid completion of Rafale staff training and delivery.

He thanked the Minister of National Defense for the quick procedures while he also referred to the executives of the General Staff of the Air Force for their cooperation.

The French ambassador to Athens, Patrick Mezonav, stressed that Greece had demonstrated in practice its confidence in France by choosing the Rafale, “who will protect Greek airspace for decades to come.”

After the Mirage, the French ambassador pointed out, “a new chapter in the Greek-French cooperation opens” with the arrival of the Rafale.

“Greece and France are united by a friendship of centuries,” he said, adding: “Our peoples share the common values ​​of freedom and solidarity as well as a common vision for the future of Europe.”

The ceremony was attended by, among others, the Speaker of Parliament Konstantinos Tassoulas, the Deputy Minister of National Defense Nikos Hardalias, the Chief of the General Staff Aviation Lieutenant Georgios Blioumis, the Metropolitan of Thebes, Livadias and Aslifos Ss. of local government.

Source: AMPE

Source From: Capital

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