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25 May, 2001
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said on Thursday the Government Defense and Foreign Policy Council (KYSEA) discussed three issues proposed by Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos: the unified medium-term program for the development and modernization of the armed forces (EMPAE) covering the 2001-2005 period, the development of armaments programs and defense strategy revision.
"You are aware that at the inner cabinet's meeting on March 29 it was decided that the implementation of certain parts of the armaments program will be delayed and the signing of relevant contracts will be transferred for the period following 2004. This decision concerns the fourth-generation "Eurofighter" fighter plane for which a relevant decision has been taken during a past KYSEA meeting," Reppas told reporters during his regular press briefing.
"Moreover, apart from this specific aircraft, the decision also concerns armaments costing a total of about one trillion drachmas. We shall decide which specific armaments will be transferred for the period following 2004, after a proposition to be made by the defense minister, in accordance with processes anticipated, that is at a new KYSEA meeting," he added.
Reppas further said the EMPAE for the 2001-2005 period will be extended until 2008 to enable expenditures on armaments programs amounting to about one trillion drachmas to be made after 2005 and until 2008.
"We have, in other words, a decrease in armaments expenditures by this amount until 2005. These expenditures will be made over the next period until 2008," he said.
Referring to the air force in particular, Reppas said it was strengthened spectacularly with the first EMPAE covering the 1996-2000 period.
He said F-16 fighter planes were obtained at a cost of 720 billion drachmas, Mirage-2000 fighter planes were also acquired for 558 billion, while PHANTOM aircraft were modernized at a cost of 100 billion and the T-6 training aircraft were purchased with 78 billion.
"We also had the procurement of long-range anti-aircraft missiles, the known PATRIOT ones, for a total expenditure of 390 billion drachmas, as well as of short-range anti-aircraft missiles, the known 'CROTALE' for a total expenditure of 80 billion drachmas," he said.
Reppas further said that six companies made finalized and improved offers in January this year for the procurement of a new battle tank for the Greek armed forces.
He added that the evaluation for the new tank is continuing and the finalized and improved proposals made are being studied to enable a final decision to be taken.
Source: Athens News Agency