Greece will now be able to acquire the advanced F-35 aircraft starting in 2029. However, that and other outlays for advanced weaponry have left little room for movement in the country’s budget.

Spending on military acquisitions will reach 1.5 to 2 billion euros per year, except for 2023, when it will be lower, according to Finance Ministry projections.

This ceiling has already been reached with the deliveries of French Rafale fighter aircraft, new missile systems, corvettes and their associated electronics and weapons systems, which are costly.

Scheduled deliveries for 2029 will cost about €1 billion, and there’s no leeway for deliveries of other weapons systems. Spending on defence systems and system deliveries are not one and the same. According to Eurostat rules, agreed on by Greece, payments that include down payments, and are not included in a country’s budget deficit, are included in its debt. Deliveries, on the other hand, are included in the deficit. So, for 2022, defence procurement spending will reach €3.375 billion and deliveries €1.12 billion.

The ceiling on deliveries is included in the 2022-2025 Stabilization Program submitted to the European Commission at the end of April and is thus a commitment on Greece’s part.

Finance Minister Christos Staikouras announced that payments for defence systems acquisitions rose from €515 million in 2020 to nearly €2.5 billion in 2021 and will rise further to €3.4 billion in 2022. Actual deliveries for the years 2022-2028 will total €11.5 billion, or an average of over €1.6 billion annually, from about €500 million in recent years.

The upgrade of 83 F-16 fighters to the Viper configuration is expected to be completed by 2027, and all 24 Rafale fighters will be delivered by 2024.