Charles De Gaulle arrives in Faliro Bay ahead of Belharra signatures



The French aircraft carrier Charles De Gaulle arrived in Faliro Bay on Thursday ahead of the official inking of the deal under which Greece will procure cutting-edge Belharra Frigates for the Hellenic Navy and six additional Rafale fighter jets for its air force, on top of the 18 jets currently agreed to.

The final signatures by Greek Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos and his French counterpart Florence Parly are expected on Thursday night during an event hosted aboard the historic cruiser Georgios Averof. Other attendees include 14 high-ranking officials of the French Defense Ministry and executives from Naval Group, the defense company manufacturing the new frigates.

After the agreement is signed, officials are expected to move aboard the French flagship where they will be given a tour by the ship’s commander. They will also be briefed on the ship’s mission in the wider eastern Mediterranean. Finally, the two ministers of defense will be hosted for dinner in the ship’s wardroom where they are expected to discuss further potential areas of co-operation between the two countries.

To this end, the Chief of the National Defense General Staff (GEETHA) Konstantinos Floros will also meet with his French counterpart General Thierry Burkhard aboard the aircraft carrier. The two are expected to discuss widening the scope of training exercises held between the two countries, including joint training exercises between Greek and French special forces. It is possible that this could include joint exercises between Greek commandos and the French Foreign Legion in the near future.



Iniochos starts next week

This year’s Iniochos multinational aeronautical exercise will be held at Andravida Air Base in southern Greece from March 28 to April 7, the Hellenic National Defense General Staff (GEETHA) has announced. It will take place over the entirety of the Athens Flight Information Region (FIR).

Apart from Greece, participants will include France with the Charles De Gaulle aircraft carrier, Rafale fighter jets and Airborne Early Warning (AEW) E2C Hawkeye aircraft. US F-15 fighter jets and MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aircraft will also be present, as will Israel with F-16s, G-550 AEW aircraft and Air-Air Refueling B-707 aircraft, and Italy with Tornados. Cyprus and Slovenia will also take part.

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