Speaking during the Prime Minister's hour, in parliament, on Friday morning, Alexis Tsipras responded to a question on the F-16 upgrade program raised by the leader of POTAMI party Mr Theodorakis.
Mr Tsipras spoke first of his visit to the US and his meeting with president Donald Trump, lingring on the fact that the US president spoke well of the Greek economy and encouraged US entrepreneurs to invest in Greece.
As he said "The bottom line is the establishment of a joint working group to promote investment in our country."
Mr Tsipras spoke of Greece's ability to become a hub between three continents and a liquefied gas station. Especiallythe PM referred to the next Thessaloniki exhibition, which he said will be a turning point for US investment, especially in the technology sector. He also noted that in the US he discussed shipyards, fiber optics, and the role Greece plays in one of the most unsteady corners of the planet.
As for the decision on the F-16, Mr Tsipras said it is a decision to support Greece in the defense sector. The decision, as he noted, was due to the gradual and incre,mental ageing fleet of aircraft and aircraft systems, there was a danger that if we did not now, due to the withdrawal of most aircraft, the Hellenic Air Force would lose some of its deterrent power.
It is necessary to upgrade the fleet now, incorporating new technologies into existing aircraft. The choices we have are two or we can hear the repeated recommendations of the aviation officers or ignore them for reasons of expediency, Mr Tsipras noted.
According to the PM, the cost of upgrading will be included in the already budgeted expenditure that has been included in the medium-term expenditure of the Ministry of Defense.
A Letter of Request addressed to the US Government was sent by the Greek side asking for an offer price to upgrade the fleet or part of the fleet.
The information that comes from the Ministry is that the official letter is expected in the coming days. It will be brought to the attention of the Armaments Committee.
As noted, the official proposalt will arrive on November 3rd after neing tabled in the relevant Senate Committee.
According to the PM, there were 123 aircraft, for which the US side sought approval from Congress and the worth was valued at $ 2.4bn.