Wednesday, June 29, 2022

French Rafale Aircraft Arrive in Greece – Shifting the Power in the Eastern Mediterranean

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By Eleni-Vasiliki Bampaliouta

After necessary personnel training, the first 6 of 24 total state-of-the-art Rafale fighters will be gradually introduced into operational planning of the Greek Air Force from January 19. Six more are expected at the end of this year and the rest will be delivered in the beginning of 2023. The acquisition of the Rafale will be an excellent multiplier of capability for the Greek Armed Forces and will upset the balance of forces in Greece in favor of great strategic importance.

With advanced radar capabilities and air-to-air weapons, the aircraft has great advantages in aerial combat and even a small number of units are able to dominate within both short and long distances, effectively prohibiting rival air forces from operating in areas where they are not welcome.

Rafale Aircrafts flies over the Acropolis in the colors of the Greek flag

In the Aegean, Eastern Mediterranean, and beyond, the large operational radius of these planes will prove important. These Rafale-type planes also can carry EXOCET missiles for advanced operations against naval targets. This capability is also enabled by the advanced naval detection sensors, which allow for air-to-sea operations from long distances, making them important in protection of friendly shipping and a major asset against movement of enemy naval forces.

Possibly the most crucial aspect of these aircraft, though, is their Active Electronic Scanning Array (AESA) which gives an effective range of 200 km and the ability to target 40 individual entities simultaneously, and to target 8 at distances over 100 km distance. With capabilities for air-ground SCALP missiles, anti-ship EXOCET missiles, and air-to-air METEOR missiles (with an effective range of about 150 km) these planes will play a crucial role in the future of Greek Air Forces. Specifically, METEOR capabilities are important, providing a range advantage over the operations of Turkish aircraft, which would allow them to operate from beyond the range of such forces. The SPECTRA self-defense system is also a great asset as an ultra-modern unit that protects the aircraft while blinding enemy ground and air based radars.

Rafale at the military air base of Tatoi, in Greece.

They also carry the renowned Link16 system that allows for coordination with F-16s, ground-based radars and missile systems. With this system, all units connected are presented with a continuously updated visual display showing the exact locations of all aircraft, friendly and hostile, in the area of interest in real time.

Rafale Fighter Aircraft

The military balance in the Eastern Mediterranean is changing significantly in favor of Greece and Cyprus, aided by a strengthening alliance with France. Highly developed weapons systems and platforms, in combination with enthusiastic political will and determination are driving ambitious adversaries to have new concerns about the military and political capabilities of Greece.

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Photography by Eurokinisi

Specialized information: Liberal.gr

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