Greece Takes Over New F-16

In a ceremony Thursday, Lockheed Martin officials formally handed over the first of 30 advanced F-16s to be produced for Greece's Hellenic Air Force.

"We've made it our mission to provide the Hellenic Air Force with the world's most advanced 4th generation fighter," Ralph Heath, president of Fort Worth-based Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., said in presenting the aircraft to Greek military and government officials.

Rev. Michael Stearns, priest at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church of Fort Worth, blessed the aircraft.

Greece, which had previously bought three lots of F-16s totaling 140 planes since 1988, ordered the latest 30 in December 2005. The aircraft are more advanced than the F-16s now flown by the U.S., which plans to replace its aircraft in a few years with F-35s.

Greece is also eyed as a likely F-35 customer.

(Posting date 4 May 2009)

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