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Interview with Vice Admiral H.N. (Rtd) Kyriakos Kyriakidis, National Armaments Director at the Ministry of Defence of Greece.

ESD: In many western countries, the changed security-political situation in
Europe has induced governments to allocate additional funds for defence and armament. To what extent and in what way has this trend influenced things in your country?
Vice Admiral Kyriakidis: It is true that in recent years, the security environment has become unpredictable and fluid, with challenges and threats emanating from all directions, forcing many nations to increase the allocated national budget for defence and armaments.
However, this trend has not actually affected our country’s policy on defence spending. It is well known that Greece, despite the economic challenges that it faces, continues to be one of the few countries that constantly spend more than 2% of its GDP to defence and is planning to do so in the future.

ESD: What are the most important military aerospace programmes in your country, both current and forthcoming?
Vice Admiral Kyriakidis: The Hellenic Ministry of National Defence is fully committed to take national defence capabilities to the next level. Given the security and financial situation along with the operational requirements, we are currently focusing on contracts and agreements for “Follow-on” support of already operational military equipment and systems. Nowadays, great effort is also focused on two major tendering procedures for follow-on support of the fleets of M2000/-5 and SUPER PUMA helicopters. Additionally major G2G agreements are in effect and in full progress such as F-16 and P-3 upgrade programmes.

ESD: What share of your procurement funds is invested in military aerospace R&D and what are you concentrating on?
Vice Admiral Kyriakidis: In Greece, the total share of expenditure allocated to defence Research & Development (R&D), including aerospace R&D activities, reaches the 1% of total annual defence spending.

ESD: Which of these are carried out in international partnerships, and who are your partners?
Vice Admiral Kyriakidis: At this stage, international partnerships and collaborative R&D projects are mainly elaborated through European Defence Agency (EDA) ad hoc programmes, while preparatory actions are under development for exploiting the European Defence Fund (EDF).

ESD: What are your nation’s current activities and considerations in the framework of PESCO (Permanent Structured Cooperation) and what are your plans?
Vice Admiral Kyriakidis: PESCO established a permanent framework for defence cooperation, among those member states willing and able to jointly develop defence capabilities and invest in shared projects. Greece, a European country with strong Armed Forces, participates and actively supports PESCO in order to address current shortfalls on military capabilities and support EU missions and operations.

In that context, Greece believes that the cooperation and the harmonisation of the requirements and capabilities of the member states will allow the more efficient use of available defence resources in European level. Taking into account the binding commitments of PESCO, Greece has elaborated a National Implementation Plan (NIP), to implement these commitments and recently the NIP has been reported.

According to the binding commitments, Greece has made available deployable formations for the realisation at the EU Level of Ambition, while at the same time, it participates in 18 out of the 34 first and second wave projects (5 as coordinator, 9 as full member and 4 as observer). Regarding the future national projects, all relevant factors will be considered on a case by case basis.

The questions were asked by Peter Bossdorf