Statement by Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt at Iniohos 2019 exercise in Andravida

April 5, 2018

First of all, I want to say what a great pleasure it to be back at Andravida Airbase for my 3rd Iniohos.

I really want to congratulate the Hellenic Air Force, Minister Apostolakis, General Christodoulou, all the pilots and the planners who are part of this.

It’s very, very impressive to see how Iniohos has grown. It’s a fantastic illustration of the unique role that Greece is able to play because of your geography, the unique set of partners that Greece pulls together for this exercise, the unique opportunities to fly over water, high mountains, over a very large airspace, and to develop the capacity to work together and to build security. So we’re all very proud to be here.

I also want to say a special thanks to the 480th fighter squadron, our pilots from the United States Air Force who are here. I had the opportunity just now to meet some of them, and they’ve all been delighted with their reception here in Greece.

Journalist: Mr. Ambassador can you comment us the possibility for Greece to purchase the new fighter F35?

It is obviously very cool to have the F35 here, the world’s most capable fighter aircraft.

I’ll say two things. First of all, as U.S. Air Force has made clear, we see Greece as a very important partner.

The F16 viper upgrade program that we have already launched is part of helping Greece to make the transition from a 4th generation fighter, from the F16, to a 5th generation platform like the F35.

This is a natural progression; it’s about building the capacities, the piloting skills, the digital infrastructure that supports these remarkable aircraft.

So we very much welcome Greece’s interest, and we’re going to continue to build on the record of success that we already have as strong defense partners, and as I said, we see the F16 viper upgrade as a natural stepping stone to a future F35 program.