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Greece-Israel military cooperation is on an upgrade trajectory

Featured Greece-Israel military cooperation is on an upgrade trajectory

The double telephone conversation between the head of the Hellenic Armed Forces General Staff, General Konstantinos Floros, and his Israeli counterpart, Aviv Kohavi, last week, confirms the high level of defense relations between the two countries. The "chemistry" in military cooperation is such that it perhaps goes beyond the much improved Athens - Jerusalem diplomatic relations in recent years 

Although the successive phone calls were made after the postponed visit of the head of the General Staff to Israel - requested by Kohavi due to the deteriorating situation in the West Bank - it is clear that it was not simply to avoid misunderstandings. The phone calls had enough substance.

They agreed to reschedule their meeting in Israel soon, but also to take immediate action to plan joint actions, synergies and operational training activities, in the framework of military cooperation between the Armed Forces of the two countries.

Joint training and exercises at bilateral and multilateral level is one of the pillars of the very close military cooperation between Greece and Israel. Israeli commandos recently participated in the multinational exercise HOURS 22 in Greece and Israeli aircraft in the INIOCHOS exercise.

Corresponding Greek fighters often take part in the Blue Flag exercise in Israel. This cooperation was cemented last February with the signing in Athens of the "Greece-Israel Defense Cooperation Program".

The equipment
The armaments sector is the second pillar of close military co-operation between the two countries' Ministries of Defense and Armed Forces. A typical example is the International Flight Training Center at the 120th Air Training Wing (PEA) in Kalamata, which will be operated for 22 years by an Israeli company (Elbit Systems Ltd). Based on the intergovernmental agreement signed last year by Greece and Israel, the Air Force cadets, called ikaroi in Greece will have a sufficient sufficiency of flight hours and with state-of-the-art training facilities.

At the same time, however, Greece is betting on the experience and know-how that Israel has in the defense industry and in "smart" weapons systems with the aim of strengthening the Hellenic Armed Forces. The Israelis have shown to the Greek staff UAV’s as well as anti-UAV’s systems (such as the Iron dome and the drone dome), as well as newer generation unmanned aircraft.

The Armed Forces has been using two Israeli Heron UAVs since last year (leasing for 3 years). It is possible that the rent will be extended. Also, the Israeli rifle (Tavor) was among the candidates to replace the H&K G3 used by the Greek Army.

However, the two Ministries of Defense and the staffs have discussions and contacts on issues of modernization of our weapons systems. The Greek side is interested in the maintenance and upgrade of Apache helicopters and C-130 aircraft.