Aeroservices, Megara Civil Airport
Thursday, May 6, 2021, 10:00 a.m.
Let me start by saying what a great pleasure to join General Floros, Admiral Petrakis, and the rest of the team here today to mark the delivery of the first maintained S-70B helicopter from Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems and Aeroservices.
It’s incredibly exciting to get this Hellenic Navy helicopter back in the air, and I want to congratulate the whole team of professionals at Aeroservices for their achievement.
For 200 years, the United States and Greece have stood shoulder-to-shoulder to promote peace and stability in this region.
Today, our defense and security relationship is one of the strongest in Europe with the updated Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement, increased joint exercises like Iniochios and DEFENDER-Europe 21 in Alexandroupoli tomorrow, and close collaboration as Greece modernizes its forces and its equipment after a decade of economic crisis.
Greece has demonstrated a strong commitment to our NATO Alliance with the upgrade of its capabilities through the F-16 Viper upgrade program, Greece’s purchase of the Lockheed Martin MH-60 Romeos, which is the world’s leading anti-submarine warfare platform, and Greece’s smart use of U.S. excess defense articles, which dramatically increase Hellenic Armed Forces capabilities at a reasonable cost.
The work being done here at Aeroservices, on behalf of the Hellenic Navy, is another great example of the U.S. Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program delivering results for the Hellenic Armed Forces. The Hellenic Navy’s S-70B sustainment and upgrade programs exemplify the strong cooperation between the U.S. and Hellenic Navies.
These programs have created new partnerships between Greek and U.S. defense companies, and they will establish here at Aeroservices a fully certified, advanced-level repair capability for Sikorsky helicopters here in Greece. This is great news for Greece because it contributes to a self-sufficient Hellenic Navy and provides the high-end technical jobs that the Greek defense industry seeks.
As with other U.S. and Greek industry collaborations, this initiative among the U.S. Navy, Lockheed Martin, and Aeroservices will help to establish Greece as a regional hub for high-technology support. We see Greece developing the training and experience to service not only its own S-70B helicopters and its newly acquired MH-60 Romeos, but also other Sikorsky platforms throughout the wider region.
These are the types of opportunities that arise when you partner with the United States of America via FMS: not just the provision of hardware, but long-term partnerships and investments in Greece’s skilled human capital, with an eye toward building security and stability in the wider region.
These mutually beneficial results demonstrate the unequaled advantages of government-to-government agreements when it comes to defense procurement. Greece will reap similar outcomes, but on a much larger scale, I am convinced, from the U.S. Navy’s coming response to partner with the Hellenic Navy for its Future Frigate and Frigate Modernization program.
Our expanded defense cooperation benefits both of our countries, deepens our bilateral alliance, strengthens NATO, and reinforces transatlantic security and stability. We are poised now to elevate our relationship to even greater heights as President Biden has committed, which is why both our governments, at the highest level, are committed now to extending the duration and reach of our MDCA agreement.
The sky is the limit for what our nations can accomplish together, and as today’s delivery ceremony demonstrates, our defense partnership is already working hand-in-hand with our trade and investment relationship, building a knowledge base in Greece that will yield benefits for decades to come. Efcharisto poli.