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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-12-09

Cyprus News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <http://www.cyna.org.cy>


CONTENTS

  • [01] US approves F-15 fighters marketing licence to Greece

  • 0940:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] US approves F-15 fighters marketing licence to Greece

    by Demetris Apokis

    Washington, Dec 9 (CNA) -- Greece might become the first NATO country besides the United States to obtain the F-15 Eagle jet fighters, after the US permission to Macdonnell Douglas to market the sophisticated aircraft to Greece.

    The decision was the successful result of very hard efforts during the past few weeks by US ambassador to Greece, Nicholas Burns, to overcome opposition inside the State Department and win licence approval to market and conduct F-15 flight demonstrations in Greece.

    Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has signed the approval on Friday, following support to Burns' efforts from Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs, Marc Grossman.

    To a CNA question yesterday, State Department spokesman Jim Foley said: "Senior State Department officials carefully deliberated over this decision to licence the marketing of this sophisticated aircraft, to ensure consistency with our interest in supporting the legitimate force modernisation goals of NATO allies, promoting US industry and ensuring stability in Southern Europe."

    Foley noted the decision authorises the F-15 marketing to Greece and allows Macdonnell Douglas to compete fairly.

    If the Greek government were to select the F-15 purchase "the State Department would have to decide at that time whether to authorise such a sale," he added.

    In a statement Monday, Washington-based Western Policy Center (WPC) said the decision on the F-15s marked an important step forward for the US- Greece military and bilateral relations.

    "The decision also reflects Washington's reliance on a robust Hellenic Air Force to help assure regional stability in NATO's critical southeastern flank," it added.

    If Greece decides to eventually acquire an F-15 fleet, it will become the first NATO country besides the US to obtain the sophisticated fighter. Currently, the F-15 is also found in Israel, Saudi Arabia and Japan.

    According to the US Air Force, the F-15 is an all-weather, extremely maneuverable tactical fighter designed to achieve and maintain superiority in aerial combat.

    It is equipped with electronic systems and weaponry to detect, track and attack enemy aircraft, while operating in friendly or enemy-controlled airspace.

    It can be armed with combinations of air-to-air missile systems and an internal multibarrel 20 mm gun. Capable of speeds up to 1875 mph, the F-15 has a range of 300 nautical miles and a ceiling of 65,000 feet. It costs around 50 million US dollars.

    "With the delivery of 40 F-16 jet fighters to Greece already underway, the F-15 licence and flight demonstration approval signals strong US interest in military equilibrium between Greece and Turkey and ensuring the stabilisation of a region beset by bilateral tensions," the WPC statement said.

    The F-15 main competition consists of Russian Suckov-27, the French- made Mirage 2000-5 and the EF-2000 Eurofighter built by a consortium of four European nations, namely Germany, France, Italy and Spain.

    CNA DA/AP/GP/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    CNA END
    Cyprus News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article
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