For obvious reasons, combat aircraft and advanced trainers were among the show’s highlights. For the fighter program, General Dynamics, with the F-16 Block 52, Dasault Rafale and Eurofighter Typhoon are offering their aircraft to fulfil the Greek requirement. Lockheed Martin and Dassault also hope to gain more, and offer considerable cooperation for local industries, participating in upgrading of Mirage 2000 and F-16s currently in service. Upgrade programs of both platforms are currently underway but future upgrades are currently funded only for the F-16s.
Addressing the Greek interest in an advanced trainer to replace the ageing T-2E (Buckeye), the Italian Aermacchi already secured close cooperation with Hellenic Aerospace Industries (HAI) for cooperation on the M346 program. BAE systems is also a strong contender, being able to an attractive integration between the Hawk and future Typhoon programs. Other trainers displayed here included the Russian Yak-130, Aero L-159 from the Czech Republic and Golden Eagle T-50 pitched by a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI).
Acquisition of NH-90 helicopters, assault, configured for special operations and combat, search and rescue roles is also underway. Among the 20 NH-90s recently ordered from Eurocopter, four are configured for special operations; another four will be used for combat search and rescue and medical evacuations. Also on the Greek shopping list are three SH-70B and eight new (yet unspecified) transport helicopters. 12 C-27J medium transports are on order. The total cost of all aerospace systems is well over 5 billion Euros. Upgrading the current fleet of F-16 Block 30/52 is also included in the program.
The multi-year plan includes support for several programs based on unmanned systems. Funding of 100 million Euros is allocated for an unspecified Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles (Greece is supporting the French-Swedish Neuron UCAV program). The Greek army also plans to improve its air defense suppression capability by acquiring more anti-radiation missiles and EW capable UAVs designed for SEAD missions. Self protection capabilities will also be improved, with installation of better ECM and decoys with to all helicopters, and transports. The Hellenic Navy is also planning to modernize its maritime patrol capabilities, with the introduction of five new maritime patrol aircraft.