“Beware of Greeks in Rafale jets.”
OK, that isn’t exactly the right quote … but this appears to be good news for Greece, bad news for Turkey … and, maybe bad news for China too?
Amid escalating tensions between Greece and Turkey, France has reportedly decided to support Athens by equipping them with 18 Dassault Rafale fighter jets to fight its Mediterranean neighbours, The EurAsian Times reported.
The contract between the French and Greek governments is reportedly at an advanced stage, which will see the Hellenic Air Force add a whole Rafale squadron to their existing fleet of Lockheed F-16 Fighting Falcons, Dassault Mirage 2000s and McDonnell-Douglas F-4 Phantoms.
According to Alexander Sitnikov, who was quoted by Pentapostagma news site, the addition of 18 French Rafale jets to the existing force of Greece, will certainly be very bad news for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“This is because Ankara cannot impose any of its defensive advantages against Athens, in order to discourage the Greeks from any desire to resist,” he added.
Rafale jets also made headlines in India when New Delhi received its first batch in July and formally inducted them last week, the report said.
With the growing Chinese aggression on the Line of Actual Control (LAC), India has ramped up its acquisition of munitions and artillery to stand prepared.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) possess an impressive variety of fighters including Sukhois, MiGs, Rafales, HAL Tejas and other multi-role fighters, but it still falls short of the sanctioned squadron strength of 42, the report said.
Currently, the IAF is operating with just 28 squadrons. The successor of the French-made Mirage is already a part of IAF but the quantity ordered is only 36 fighters.
Rival Pakistan is believed to have about 75 F-16 fighter jets. It also has vintage French Mirage and Chinese Chengdu F-7s. China’s main fighter jet is the fifth-generation, home-grown Chengdu J-20.
The Rafale — a twin-jet fighter aircraft manufactured by French-based Dassault Aviation — is said to be superior in technology and performance, a “game changer” in fact. They are able to operate from both shore bases and aircraft carriers.
It can integrate with missiles such as MICA air-to-air missiles, SCALP long-range missiles, laser-guided bombs, AM39 anti-ship missiles, GIAT 30 internal cannon, Meteor long-range air-to-air missiles, and air-to-ground precision-guided weapons.
On the other hand, the Turkish F-16 comes armed with Penguin anti-ship missiles, cluster bombs, runway denial bombs, AIM-9 sidewinder short-range air-to-air missiles, AIM -120 medium-range air to air missiles, conventional bombs and a 20mm Vulcan cannon.
“The battle in the Eastern Mediterranean with the prize of several billion dollars worth of oil and gas fields will be carried out mainly with fighter jets and warships of the warring parties,” said the Russian journalist.
“Nevertheless, many defense experts are convinced that victory will go to the country that gains air supremacy first.”
Media reports claim that Turkey has already ordered the transfer of S-400 air defense arrays (which will control the disputed area), while they are contemplating acquiring several Su-37 jets, the report said.
The author also adds that due to the Russian S-400 air defense systems, the Turks have some lead in controlling the airspace of the Eastern Mediterranean, but in order to gain complete control, they also need a sufficient number of Russian S-400 systems.