Greece Now Has F-16 Viper Fighter Jets

   

After the delivery of the first two F-16 Viper fighter jets, Greece now has the most advanced version of the venerable aircraft in Europe.

The Hellenic Air Force received the F-16 Vipers in a ceremony with Lockheed Martin on Monday.

The first two F-16 Vipers are the first aircraft of a large-scale modernization program that aims to deliver dozens more of the most advanced version of the venerable F-16 fighter jet.

The F-16 Viper 

The “Viper” version of the F-16 Fighting Falcon is the most advanced. Also known as the “Block 70/72” upgrade, the F-16V comes with several new electronics, which are the mainstay of the upgrade.

Some of them include the powerful APG-83 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, the AN/APX-126 Advanced Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) system, Link 16 datalink, a new Night Vision Imaging System (NVIS), a new Center Pedestal Display (CPD), a Joint Helmet-Mounted Cueing System II (JHCMS II), a new Embedded GPS/INS, a modern commercial off-the-shelf (COTS)-based avionics subsystem, and the Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System (Auto GCAS), which is designed to save an unconscious pilot from death.

Moreover, the structural upgrades that come as part of the Viper package extend the structural life of the aircraft by more than 50 percent compared to previous versions of the F-16 fighter jet.

“In partnership with Hellenic Aerospace Industry we have delivered the first two upgraded fighters in the F16 V configuration to the Hellenic Air Force. The F-16V jet will be the most advanced F-16s in Europe and will strengthen Greek national security for decades to come,” Lockheed Martin said in a tweet.

The Hellenic Air Force and Lockheed Martin will work together to upgrade 83 F-16 fighter jets to the “Viper” version.

“It is a true pleasure and honor for me to be here today to celebrate the next achievement in the Hellenic Air Force’s prized, and combat proven, F-16 program,” U.S. Ambassador George Tsunis said at the end of the ceremony.

“Greece’s F-16 Vipers will immediately enhance NATO’s interoperability with 4th and 5th-generation fighter aircraft, ensuring our alliance can defend our security interests. The U.S.-Greece defense cooperation is the strongest it has ever been. The Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement framework has strengthened and advanced our common defense and strategic interests for more than three decades,” Tsunis added.

A Growing Alliance 

The defense relationship between the U.S. and Greece has grown stronger over the past few years.

The shenanigans and geopolitical megalomania of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan have gradually alienated neighboring Turkey. An industrious Athens has seized the opportunity to fill any geopolitical gaps created by Turkey.

The results of that industrious Greek diplomatic effort have been many, with particular gains in the defense realm. Besides the F-16 Vipers, Greece has received dozens of OH-58 Kiowa light attack and reconnaissance helicopters and hundreds of M-1117 Armored Security Vehicles at little to no cost from the U.S. military. (It should be noted that Greece is paying full price for the modernization of its F-16 fleet.)

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