Lieutenant General Theodoros Lagios, General Director for Defence Investments and Armaments of the Greek Ministry of Defence and Eric Béranger, CEO of MBDA, signed a contract to provide the armaments for 18 Rafale aircraft intended for Greece’s air force. In 2020 Greece announced the acquisition of eighteen Rafale multirole aircraft. In January 2021, the official agreement with Dassault Aviation was ratified in the Hellenic Parliament, and included the purchase of six new built, and 12 used F3-R aircraft in previous service with the Armée de l’Air at total cost of €2.4 billion.
Eric Béranger, CEO of MBDA, said: “The signing of this agreement turns a new page in our relationship with Greece, which we have had for more than half a century. The country was the very first customer of the Exocet missile in 1968, showing great confidence in it and in our predecessor companies. This confidence has been renewed over the years and is being renewed again today. It is our duty to do everything we can in order to continue delivering on this confidence into tomorrow.”
A signing ceremony was held in Athens in the presence of the French Minister for Armed Forces, Florence Parly, and the Greek Minister for Defense, Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos. The new aircraft’s weapons will benefit from the strong commonality with those from the Mirage 2000s and Mirage 2000-5s currently in service in the Hellenic Air Force. Like these, the Rafales will be armed with SCALP cruise missiles, AM39 Exocet anti-ship missiles and MICA multi-mission air-to-air missiles. Additionally, MBDA will also supply Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missiles.
Storm Shadow is an Anglo-French low-observable air-launched cruise missile, developed since 1994 by Matra and British Aerospace, and now manufactured by MBDA. Storm Shadow is the British name for the weapon; in French service it is called SCALP EG (Système de Croisière Autonome à Longue Portée – Emploi Général, meaning General Purpose Long Range Cruise Missile). The missile is based on the earlier MBDA Apache anti-runway missile, and differs in that it carries a warhead rather than submunitions.
The Exocet (flying fish) is a French-built anti-ship missile whose various versions can be launched from surface vessels, submarines, helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft. The Exocet saw its first wartime launch during the Falklands War. The Exocet AM39 is the airborne version of the Exocet anti-ship missile family. It can be launched from strike aircraft, Maritime Patrol Aircraft and helicopters. With a range of up to 70 km, depending on the altitude and speed of the aircraft, the Exocet AM39 enables the aircraft to remain at range from enemy air defences.
The MBDA MICA (Missile d’interception, de combat et d’autodéfense) is an anti-air multi-target medium-range missile system. It is intended for use both by air platforms as individual missiles as well as ground units and ships, which can be equipped with the rapid fire MICA Vertical Launch System. The first trials occurred in 1991, and the missile was commissioned in 1996 to equip the Rafale and Mirage 2000. On 11 June 2007, a MICA launched from a Rafale successfully demonstrated its over-the-shoulder capability by destroying a target behind the launch aircraft.
The Meteor is an active radar guided beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) developed by MBDA. Meteor offers a multi-shot capability against long range maneuvering targets, jets, UAVs and cruise missiles in a heavy electronic countermeasures (ECM) environment with a range in excess of 100 kilometres (54 nmi). A solid-fueled ramjet motor allows the missile to cruise at a speed of over Mach 4 and provides the missile with thrust and mid-way acceleration to target intercept.
The Dassault Rafale is a French twin-engine, canard delta wing, multirole fighter aircraft designed and built by Dassault Aviation. Equipped with a wide range of weapons, the Rafale is intended to perform air supremacy, aerial reconnaissance, ground support, in-depth strike, anti-ship strike and nuclear deterrence missions. The Rafale is referred to as an “omnirole” aircraft by Dassault. The Rafale has been marketed for export to several countries, and was selected for purchase by the Indian Air Force, the Egyptian Air Force, the Qatar Air Force and the Hellenic Air Force.