Flurry of Turkish violations in eastern Aegean on Fri.; gov't announces immediate upgrade of F-16s (Block 52+) to 'Viper' model

Friday, 27 December 2019 20:58
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Almost 100 violations were recorded along the length of the eastern Aegean on Friday by 17 Turkish aircraft, a development that sources in Athens consider an spike in simmering tension in the area, given that the specific military activity breaks an "unofficial" moratorium against such flights on holidays - in either country.

Nine engagements were reported between Turkish warplanes and Greek fighter planes that scrambled to intercept them, of which 10 planes were armed.

The Turkish violators were identified as 12 F-16s, two F-4 "Phantoms" and three helicopters.

Twenty of the violations involved over-flights of Greek isles in the eastern Aegean.

In a related development, Greece's defense minister on Friday announced that the upgrading of the Hellenic Air Force's F-16 Block 52+/ADV into type Viper will begin immediately at the state-run Hellenic Aerospace Industries (HAI).

According to Minister Nikos Papagiotopoulos, the upgrade program will be completed in 2027.

In response to a Parliament question over the possible sale of F-16 Block 30 warplanes, the minister reiterated that interest has been expressed, with several proposals considered.  

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