The Greek Ministry of Defense has planned a fairly large-scale renewal of the ground forces by updating the fleet of BMPs and main battle tanks.
In particular, the conclusion of an intergovernmental agreement with Germany regarding the supply of the latest KF41 Lynx infantry fighting vehicles, the acquisition of additional Marder 1A3s, and the modernization of Leopard 2A4 tanks to the Leopard 2A7 level is already in the final stages.
As the local specialized publication Defense Review Gr reports, a meeting was held in Athens at the level of the General Staff and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with the participation of the country’s prime minister, regarding the activation of the agreement. It is planned to finally agree on all the details with Berlin during the security forum in Munich, which will be held on February 17-19.
Currently, the German side has proposed the sale of 205 KF41 Lynx, two batches of Marder 1A3 of one hundred units each, the second of which will come gradually with the Bundeswehr replacing these BMPs with Puma, as well as the modernization of 123 Leopard 2 tanks.
And if the agreement is concluded, the armed forces of Greece will become the second customer of the KF41 Lynx after Hungary, which ordered 218 Lynx KF41 BMPs for 2 billion euros with the right to localized production of 172 BMPs.
Rheinmetall also plans to interest Italy in its development and advance its Dardo BMP. Ukraine is also in the company’s plans, by the way, not only in the form of supplying Lynx but also the latest KF51 Panther tank.
The value of the Greek contract is estimated at 3.5 billion euros, but in return, Germany’s Rheinmetall is to expand its capacity at its plant in Thessaloniki. In addition, Greece wants to effectively reduce the deal’s price by counter-supplying Germany with 150 Hoplite armored vehicles.
Also, an important element of the agreement with Berlin for Athens should not be to include the payment for weapons in the payment of the debt to Germany.
At the same time, for Greece itself, updating its armored fleet is an obvious need. In particular, the Greek infantry fighting vehicles fleet is up to 169 BMP-1 units, 40 of which are to be transferred to Ukraine under “circular supplies” in exchange for the Marder.
And the mechanization of the ground forces in Greece as a whole is entrusted to armored personnel carriers, in particular, the own development of Leonidas in a relatively small number of up to 100 units, and the basis is 1.8 thousand M113. That is why 205 KF41 Lynx and 200 Marder 1A3 will significantly contribute to its own defense capability.
The modernization of the tank fleet is no less important. Although “on paper,” Athens has more than 1,200 tanks, most of them are outdated equipment. In particular, 500 Leopard 1s, some of which are generally in the A4 version, as well as as many as 375 units of the M48A5 Patton. In fact, 170 Leopard 2A6HEL and 183 Leopard 2A4 carry the entire burden of combat capability.
At the same time, the fact that, according to preliminary data, only 123 Leopard 2A4 tanks will be upgraded to A7 means that 60 tanks will remain without an upgrade at once.
We should also note that there was information about Greece’s interest in Leopard 1 modernization. Currently, two options are being considered – a fairly moderate update, which will affect the sights, replacing hydraulic drives with electric ones, and reconstructing some mechanical parts.
Greek companies offer this option in cooperation with the Spanish Indra Defense. An alternative is a global upgrade based on a proposal from Belgium’s John Cockerill with a complete tower replacement.