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A Stealth Squadron: Greece Wants a Fleet of 24 F-35 Fighters

The sun sets behind an Australian F-35A Lighting II at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., June 27, 2018. The first Australian F-35 arrived at Luke in December, 2014. Currently six Australian F-35's are assigned to the 61st Fighter Squadron where their pilots train alongside U.S. Air Force pilots. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jensen Stidham) Note: This image was created by placing a reflective surface in front of the the camera lens.

The fleet of F-35 Joint Strike Fighter uses is likely to grow soon as Greece has officially joined the club of countries who are interested in operating the stealth fighter jet.

Greece Wants the F-35 Lighting II

In a press interview on the background of the NATO summit in Spain, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said that Greece has formally expressed its intention to buy one squadron of F-35A Lightning II fighter jets (24 aircraft), but it is also interested in getting another one in the future for a total of 48 F-35A stealth fighter jets. The Greek military formally started the process by sending a Letter of Request to the Pentagon a few days ago.

But this is a long process that can take at least five if not six years before the first aircraft arrive in Greece. The U.S. Senate has signed a bill that would expedite deliveries of the F-35 fighter jet to Greece but that doesn’t mean that the Greek air force will have the first squadron ready any time soon. The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is a popular aircraft, and several countries are waiting to receive their aircraft, while several more have expressed interest in buying it.

F-35 Joint Strike Fighter: Quarterback of the Skies 

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is a fifth-generation stealth multi-role aircraft that comes in three versions.

The F-35A is the standard version that takes off from normal runways and is the most widely used or ordered. The F-35B is the short take-off, vertical landing (STOVL) iteration that can take off and land like a helicopter and is perfect for expeditionary operations. Finally, the F-35C is the carrier version of the fighter jet and is designed to take off and operate from aircraft carriers.

To be sure, all three versions are the same aircraft with largely the same capabilities. The main difference among them is how they get to or return from the battle.

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is one of the most advanced aircraft to ever operate in the skies. It can competently conduct six mission sets: Strategic Attack, Close Air Support, Air Superiority, Electronic Warfare, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR), and Suppression Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD) and Destruction Enemy Air Defense (DEAD).

Currently, 16 countries are flying or intend to fly the aircraft (the U.S., U.K., Australia, Canada, Japan, Israel, Italy, Norway, Denmark, Poland, Singapore, Belgium, South Korea, Netherlands, Finland, Switzerland, and Germany), while there are others that are considering buying the F-35.

As of 2022, 13 countries operate more than 800 F-35 stealth aircraft from around 27 bases worldwide. The U.S. military is first with more than 600 F-35 operational, followed by Australia (44), Norway (34), Israel (33), South Korea (32), the Netherlands (24), the United Kingdom (23 after losing one F-35B a few months ago), Japan (23), and Italy (17).

The U.S. military wants to buy about 2,500 F-35s of all versions (approximately 1,700 F-35As for the Air Force, 350 F-35Bs for the Marine Corps, and 270 F-35Cs and 70 F-35Cs for the Navy and Marine Corps, respectively.

1945’s New Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business InsiderSandboxx, and SOFREP.

1945’s Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist with specialized expertise in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.