05 Jan 21. Greek Government Approves an Expansive Defense Agreement Between the Israeli and Greek Ministries of Defense. The agreement, which will be signed by both defense ministries, includes the establishment and operation of a flight school for the Hellenic Air Force, by Elbit Systems. It also includes the procurement of ten M-346 aircraft (Lavi), the maintenance of T-6 aircraft (Efroni), as well as the provision of simulators, training and logistic support. The G-to-G agreement amounts to around $1.68bn and will span over 20 years.
Defense Minister, Benny Gantz: “This agreement reflects the excellent and developing relations we have with Greece. It is a long-term partnership that will serve the interests of both Israel and Greece, create hundreds of jobs in both countries, and promote stability in the Mediterranean. In the phone call that I received after the agreement was approved, I thanked my friend the Greek Minister of Defense, Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos, and expressed my appreciation for his personal involvement in advancing this project. I also commended the recent strengthening of defense relations between our countries and noted my expectation that these will deepen further. ”
The Israel Ministry of Defense participated in an international tender for this project, and its winning bid was approved by the Greek government. As part of the agreement, the flight school will be built and maintained by Elbit systems. This is the largest defense procurement agreement between the two countries to date, and the approval from Athens enables the parties to move forward in the negotiations leading to the signing of a contract.
In the near future, SIBAT, the Directorate for International Defense Cooperation in the Israel Ministry of Defense, and Elbit Systems will sign the agreement to establish the Greek flight school. Modeled after the Israel Air Force (IAF) flight academy, the Greek school will be equipped with 10 M-346 training aircraft produced by Italian company, Leonardo. Otherwise known as “Lavi,” these aircraft are also employed in the Israeli flight school and are considered very successful.
Within the framework of the agreement, Elbit Systems will provide kits to upgrade and operate the Hellenic Air Force’s T-6 aircraft. Elbit will also provide training, simulators and logistical support. In the future, the parties will also consider areas of cooperation between the Israeli and Greek flight academies.
SIBAT Director, Brig. Gen. (Res.), Yair Kulas: “The Greek government’s approval of this agreement is a historic step in further deepening the excellent defense relations between our two countries. This is not just a defense export agreement, but rather a partnership for at least 20 years. I would like to thank the Greek Ministry of National Defense for its trust and for assigning this important task to the Israel Ministry of Defense and our excellent defense industry.”
05 Jan 21. Australian International military training to resume in 2021. Defence has confirmed that the Australian Defence College will resume limited international training for foreign military partners in 2021, with the first officials arriving in Australia in early January.
This training program is highly valued and reinforces Australia’s reputation across the region as the security partner of choice. The training of foreign military officials provides an important opportunity for the Australian Defence Force (ADF) to build lifelong relationships with the next generation of military leaders of our international partners.
All foreign military officials, and any dependants, will arrive into Darwin and undertake quarantine, before continuing on to their ultimate posting locations in the Australian Capital Territory, NSW and Victoria.
All officials and dependants are subject to the same stringent quarantine provisions undertaken by other international arrivals, including 14 days of Mandatory Supervised Quarantine and the requirement to return a negative COVID-19 exit test result in order to receive clearance for release from quarantine by NT Health.
The arrival of foreign military officials, and their dependants, is being primarily facilitated by Defence and will not affect international arrival caps for returning Australians.
Defence has consulted extensively with the Northern Territory government and its chief health officer to facilitate this important program, as well as the Department of Home Affairs, the Department of Foreign Affairs and our partners overseas. (Source: Defence Connect)
05 Jan 21. US lawmakers permit US Air Force to acquire F-35A test aircraft. The fiscal year (FY) 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which became law on 1 January 2021, allows the US Air Force (USAF) to utilise, modify, and operate six Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) conventional variant test assets.
This is subject to written approval by the Secretary of Defence, currently Christopher Miller. The six F-35A test assets are aircraft AT-1 through to AT-6, which are currently held by the federal government in long-term storage at Edwards Air Force Base (AFB) in California.
The USAF and the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) did not return requests for comment prior to publication.
An expert believes this legislation benefits the USAF because it may be able to modify and use these aircraft in situations where using new, operational F-35As would be cost-prohibitive. A retired USAF pilot, who was given anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to reporters, told Janes on 4 January that these situations include exercises and maintenance training.
They also include using the aircraft to experiment with new technologies or to train new test pilots. Using test aircraft in these situations would be much cheaper than using “full-up” F-35As, the retired pilot said.
These original test aircraft are in long-term storage because they are the oldest version of the F-35 and do not resemble the current A-model versions. These test assets have older avionics and test instrumentation, for example, and thus have very limited utility in their current configuration. (Source: Jane’s)
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