Greece is very interested in participating in the U.S.-led program to produce and procure the F-35 fifth generation fighter jet, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told U.S. President Donald Trump.
“Greece is interested, Mr. President, in participating in the F-35 program,” Mitsotakis said during a meeting with Trump at the White House on Jan. 7.
“As you know, we are already upgrading our F-16s and that program will be completed in 2023-2024. So we are very much interested in participating in the F-35 after that.”
Mitsotakis said that while considering Greece’s request, the United States should take into account “the fact that this country [Greece] is coming out of an economic crisis, in terms of structuring the program in the best possible way for my country.”
It took Greece nine years to escape from a severe economic recession following the 2008 global financial crisis. This year will test whether Mitsotakis and reinvigorated business confidence can overcome the problems and attract the foreign investment that the country is need of.
Last year, the U.S. expelled Turkey from the F-35 program in retaliation for the country accepting delivery of the Russian S-400 missile system.
Manufactured by prime contractor Lockheed Martin, the F-35 is the largest and most expensive weapons program in history, leaving Turkey’s economy set to take an economic hit due to its defense industries heavy investment in the fighter jet.
Turkey says it purchased the S-400 as the U.S. was too slow to offer alternative anti-air defense systems.