Israel Ministry of Defense (IMOD) and Hellenic Ministry of National Defense have signed an expansive agreement of approximately NIS 5.5 billion (€1.375 billion) to establish and operate an international flight training center for the Hellenic Air Force. Under this Government-to-Government agreement, Elbit Systems will provide flight simulators, training aircraft, maintenance, and support over a period of 22 years. Today Elbit Systems announced the receipt of an IMOD contract worth $1.65 Billion for the Flight Training Program.

The establishment of a modern flight school has become a priority for Athens to provide high-standard training for future pilots for Hellenic Air Force’s Rafale and F-35 fighters. Under the modernization program, the HAF 120 Air Training Wing based in Kalamata, Peloponnese, will retire some of the T-2E Buckeyes (operated by 362 squadron “Nestor” and 363 squadron “Danaos”), adding 10 new Leonardo M-346, advanced jet trainers. Elbit Systems will deliver those aircraft and provide kits to upgrade and operate the wing’s T-6 aircraft. Besides, those T-6s, operated by 361 Squadron Basic Training Squadron “Pelops,” will get the latest Embedded Virtual Avionics (EVA) onboard the training aircraft.

Further expansions also include cooperation between the Israeli flight academy and Hellenic Airforce Academy and adding military helicopter pilot training at the facility. The new center’s goal is to train fighter pilots of the Greek Air Force and foreign armed forces, similar to the Italian Air Force/Leonardo International Flight Training School (IFTS). The comparative advantage of Kalamata includes the good climatic conditions, and its isolation from busy airports, supporting a year-round effective flight training environment.

“This contract award attests to the leading position we hold in the area of training, providing tested know-how and proven technologies that improve readiness while reducing costs.” President and CEO of Elbit Systems, Bezhalel (Butzi) Machlis said.

Under a contractor support model already implemented by the Israel Air Force, Elbit Systems will maintain the entire training fleet, which comprises dozens of training aircraft for a period of approximately 20 years. The training package also comprises the delivery of networked flight simulators and an array of Ground-Based Training Stations (GBTS), and a command and control system to enable efficient management of the flight training operation.

This contract award follows several major programs and contracts that Elbit Systems has secured in recent years, including the selection to supply embedded training capabilities for the U.S. Air Forces’ T-7 Red Hawk aircraft, a contract to provide the UK Royal Navy with a range of simulation capabilities, the delivery of a Brigade and Battlegroup Mission Training Center to the Israeli Defence Forces, a contract to supply helicopter flight simulation for the Italian Ministry of Defence, and others. Since 2016, Elbit Systems and its partner KBR, provide procurement, operations, and maintenance services for the Royal Air Forces’ Basic Flying Training program that operates dozens of aircraft of three different types in three Air Force bases in the UK. Since 2011 the company has also operated a pilot training center for helicopter pilots in Macedonia.