© Copyright Embassy of Greece 1996-2005. All Rights Reserved.
02 March, 2002
The Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defense (KYSEA) on Friday approved three major arms supply programs, during a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Costas Simitis.
Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou afterward announced that the meeting had approved three important armaments purchases falling within Greece's five-year arms procurement plan. These included an order for 170 LEOPARD 2-A5 tanks made by Germany's Krauss-Maffei, the ASPIS electronic counter-measures system made in the United States and 12 mid-range C 27J transport planes made by a US-Italian consortium comprised of Italy's Alenia and Lockheed Martin.
The minister said the three programs would account for a large chunk of the total 2001-2006 armaments program but avoided giving a specific figure, saying that this would be decided on during negotiations for the contracts and the agreements for annual payments.
Unofficial sources estimate the total cost of the three programs announced to be 2.05 billion euros.
Papantoniou also stressed that the decision was fully in line with earlier government announcements of a decision to reduce and roll back planned arms spending until after the 2004 Olympics.
To this end, he said, KYSEA had decided to reduce the number of tanks ordered to 170 from original plans for 246.
With each tank costing approximately 7.5 million euros, this represents a saving of some half million euros.
Papantoniou said the criteria used in selecting weapons systems were primarily technical, giving first priority to the needs of the armed forces and to fulfilling their requirements.
A secondary consideration was that of cost, with the cheapest offer among those selected chosen, while a third important consideration was delivery time.
The defense minister said this final consideration had been important in the selection of the ASPIS electronic counter-measures system, which would begin to be delivered in 2003 along with 60 F-16s that would be incorporated into the specific system.
He stressed, however, that the system was also better than its competitors with respect to technical and economic considerations as well.
Regarding the transport plane order, Papantoniou said the air force had decided to make do with slightly fewer than 15 mid-range planes and would put in an order for 12 with the option to buy another three, while the money thus saved would be used to buy two second-hand C-130 transport planes.
Source: Athens News Agency