Τhe vice president of Lockheed Martin for the F-35, JR McDonald, speaking exclusively to Pentapostagma confirmed that Greece will receive the most modern version of the F-35, that of Block 4. We met him at the DEFEA defense exhibition that ended today in Spata and here is what he told us:
-What's the latest on the F-35?
We are entering a period when the F-35 is being upgraded and it is a fact that the planes that Greece will receive based on what will be decided by the US government about their profile (operational) and when the aircraft will be received. No matter what their decision is, Greece will receive what we call the F-35 block 4. This is already the most modern aircraft in the world and as we move into block 4 modernization there will be 75 major upgrades from the plane as it is today on the plane that Greece will pick up.
Greece will receive a plane with increased and improved avionics, it will have more memory (in its computer), a better computer that manages the whole plane. Beyond that the upgrades focus on three main areas. Number one is the connectivity of the airplane to everything else on the battlefield. Not just more F-35s but other 4th generation fighters and then, very importantly, in other areas.
We are talking about elements in space, about other aircraft, about ships at sea. In all areas the F-35 will be the key element in what we call a 21st century network of superiority.
This is the first of the major upgrades. The second of the major upgrades focus on all the sensors on the aircraft. The aircraft already has excellent sensors including its radar, electronic early warning (EW), electro-optics, but this upgrade will make these sensors significantly better.
Now you have a stealth aircraft (invisible to radar) capable of going deep into enemy territory and has the best sensors in the world capable of characterizing (target identification) that battlefield from deep within enemy territory. Now take this to connectivity, he can share it with the rest of the force.
The third major upgrade of the block 4 aircraft is the increase in weapons and its ability to carry significant and newer weapons.
Greece will receive the most modern aircraft in the world when it receives its planes.
-Greece has many types of fighters F-16 Viper, Rafale, Mirage 2000-5, what will the F-35 match?
The beauty of the F-35 as a 5th generation fighter is that it makes everyone else on the battlefield that much better because of its ability to share the information it has, it can help any 4th generation fighter do its job better. It is a power multiplier. It is a cooperative effect even with other platforms not only F-35. So it does not mean that these aircraft have no value. It means that the volume, the amount of planes is better because of the F-35.