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Parliament plenary approves purchase of Rafale fighter jets from France

Parliament plenary approves purchase of Rafale fighter jets from France

The Defence Ministry's armaments bill was approved by broad majority at a plenary vote held on Thursday evening.

It was voted through by ruling New Democracy, main opposition party SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance, Movement for Change (KINAL) and Greek Solution; both the Greek Communist Party and MeRA25 rejected the bill.

Parliamentary approval allows Greece to proceed with procuring 18 French-made Rafale fighter jets - 12 used and 6 new.

Defence Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos called on all parties and parliament committees to monitor the implementation of the contracts, and he also accepted KINAL's amendment for this check to be carried out every 6 months by the standing parliamentary committee.

Greece is scheduled to receive the Rafales in three installments: the first 6 used aircraft by June 2021 (6 months after contract signing), 6 new aircraft on the 20th such month, and the final 6 used jets are to be received on the 26th month (in 2023).

The minister also expressed his hope that Greece's armaments industry will soon be able to take on the task of maintaining the fighter jets and their on-board weapons systems itself.