22:23 GMT +319 October 2019
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    SH-60F Seahawk Helicopter

    US State Department Okays Greek Purchase of Seahawk Helicopters

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    The US State Department has signed off on a proposed sale of MH-60R Seahawk helicopters to Greece.

    The $600 million buy is part of a larger deal including radars, engines, targeting systems, and the various weaponry of which the seaborne chopper makes use of in its anti-submarine and anti-ship roles, Defense News reported.

    The Seahawks, which are a version of Sikorsky’s UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter modified for use onboard ships, are sought to replace Athens’ aging naval combat helicopters, INS Jane’s reported in February, when the deal was first floated. However, the Seahawk is not itself a young bird; they entered service in 1984, and some countries, like China, are already retiring theirs and moving on to a new generation of helis.

    The deal is to happen under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program, coordinated by the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency between US defense firms Lockheed Martin and Mission Systems and the Hellenic Armed Forces.

    Last December, then-Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos floated the idea during a trip to Washington that the US military open several new bases in the country, offering up the eastern port cities of Alexandroupoli and Volos, from which it would be easy to send a naval strike force into the Black Sea and to Ukraine - or into confrontation with Russia.

    Sputnik reported that then-US Defense Secretary James Mattis situated the appeal in the context of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’s name change to the Republic of Northern Macedonia, which he alleged was the work of Russian “influence campaigns” to which Greece might also be vulnerable.

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    Tags:
    defense, helicopter, U.S. Department of State, Foreign Military Sales (FMS), Greece, MH-60R Seahawk
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