Hellenic Aerospace Industries
May 20, 2019
Καλημέρα σας. Minister Apostolakis, Alternate Minister Rigas, General Christodoulou, Vice Admiral Tsounis, friends. It is a great pleasure and an honor for me to be here today to celebrate the rebirth of the Hellenic Navy’s Maritime Patrol capability. I spoke at EXPOSEC last week and at the Hellenic Air Force Air Power Conference on Wednesday about enhancing the U.S.-Greece strategic relationship and pursuing areas of mutual interest, and today’s event makes that partnership concrete.
This week’s visits to Greece by EUCOM Deputy Commander Lieutenant General Twitty and the new commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Africa General Harrigian are additional proof that we are working together more closely today than ever before.
I remember seeing the P-3B soon after their arrival at HAI with Chairman Gikas, at the beginning of the Hellenic Navy’s Maritime Patrol modernization process, and now, here today, we are welcoming the first aircraft’s return to the Hellenic Fleet.
We’ve also discussed the opportunities that exist to find low-cost solutions to sustain and enhance Greek military capability, and I am very excited to see one of those come to fruition this week with the arrival of 70 Kiowa helicopters in Greece.
We’ve talked about the exceptional capacity of Greek military and security infrastructure,and next week, for the first time in years, a Brigade of Stryker vehicles will offload from a ship at the Port of Alexandroupoli and make their way to locations across Europe to participate in NATO exercises and support Operation Atlantic Resolve.
Any one of these events would be considered a success in advancing our defense relationship, but taken together, they demonstrate the strength and resolve of our nations to effect meaningful, long-term deepening of our alliance.
So while we celebrate these advances in our relationship today and in the days to come, let’s also use them as the foundation for the United States and Greece’s strong and secure future.
It’s fitting to talk about our common future while standing in this aircraft hangar at AHI, which we hope will become the nexus of a re-emerging Greek defense and aerospace industry.
Following the delivery of the interim aircraft today, I eagerly await the modernization of the four remaining P-3 aircraft and their return to the skies to provide maritime domain awareness for Greece and the Alliance across the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean Seas.
I also look forward to inducting the first F-16 aircraft into the Viper upgrade program within the next year. The successful completion of these projects will continue to expand HAI’s know-how and reputation in the eyes of its transatlantic partners.
HAI’s technological capabilities will need to further develop to accomplish these significant modernization tasks, and this increased capacity will equip HAI with the skills and facilities to become a leader in the defense industry, qualified to serve customers across the region.
Strengthening HAI supports an important ecosystem where research and development, innovation, and economic opportunity intersect to meet the challenges of the future.
This ecosystem serves not only to reenergize the Greek defense industry, but also to nurture strategic business relationships with U.S. companies, like Lockheed Martin. And American companies are clearly interested in connecting with Greek infrastructure, energy, and technology industries as the Greek economy continues to rebound.
Here at HAI, the Greek defense industry is uniquely positioned to provide material solutions for the country’s national security requirements while at the same time leveraging Greece’s geopolitical relationships and location to once again become a major regional player.
I see so much potential here, as I was reminded yesterday, visiting some of the world-class technology firms at the Patras University Technology Park. I believe that success in achieving this potential depends on how well the opportunities are integrated and market conditions are created to take advantage of changes in the regional security environment and the technological drivers of our world.
I look forward to further enhancing U.S.-Greece defense cooperation when the Pentagon welcomes Minister Apostolakis next month. For the U.S., Greece is a strong and steadfast partner, a NATO ally and a pillar of stability in the region. Moving forward with an increased tempo to our military engagement offers tangible evidence of the U.S. government’s unequivocal support for, and investments in our historic partnership and our shared alliance interests. Ευχαριστώ πολύ.