Greek Defense Minister Visits Lockheed Martin on Independence Day
FORT WORTH, Texas, July 4th, 1998 -- The Minister of National Defense of the Republic of Greece visited Lockheed Martin Tactical Aircraft Systems on Saturday, July 4th, to inspect F-16 aircraft being prepared for delivery to the Hellenic Air Force.
His Excellency Apostolos Tsochatzopoulos also met with Lockheed Martin officials to discuss the company’s potential proposals for Greece’s next purchase of fighter aircraft, a sale for which the F-16 is a contender.
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison represented the United States government during the Defense Minister’s visit to the Fort Worth plant. Tsochatzopoulos will meet with Defense Secretary William Cohen next week in Washington.
In addition to its requirements for new fighter aircraft, Greece is considering the purchase of Airborne Early Warning (AEW) aircraft and medium transport aircraft, with decisions possible later this year. Lockheed Martin is proposing versions of the C-130J and C-27J, respectively, for the AEW and transport programs.
James A. (Micky) Blackwell, President of Lockheed Martin’s Aeronautics Sector, represented the corporation in meetings with the Defense Minister.
The Hellenic Air Force has been flying the F-16 since 1988 and has previously placed two orders for a total of 80 aircraft. About 70 have been delivered to date, and the remaining aircraft will be delivered by the end of the year.
Minister Tsochatzopoulos viewed five new F-16s that will be flown to Greece later this month. The aircraft currently being produced for Greece are Block 50 model F-16s, powered by General Electric’s F110-GE-129 engine. Other major suppliers include Northrop Grumman, producer of the APG-68 fire control radar.
Lockheed Martin and its heritage companies have a long relationship with the Republic of Greece, through products including the Martin A-30 attack aircraft, the Lockheed RT-33A trainer, the General Dynamics F-102 interceptor and the Lockheed F-104 Starfighter, in addition to the F-16 and C-130.
A total of 20 world air forces have selected the F-16 as their front-line fighter, including the latest, the United Arab Emirates, which announced its decision to purchase 80 F-16s in May. More than 3,750 F-16s have been produced to date and about 250 additional aircraft are on firm order, not counting those planned by the U.A.E.