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The historically high level of Greek-American relations, as reflected in the Greek parliament’s signing of the renewed Mutual Defense Co-operation Agreement in May 2022 and the speech of Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to the US Congress that month, is confirmed by the significant presence of US companies at Defence Exhibition Athens (DEFEA) 2023, which takes place in the Greek capital on 9-11 May 2023.

The US Army is participating in DEFEA 2023 with some of the most advanced weapon systems it possesses, which are at the forefront of operations both in the war zones of Ukraine and in other areas of the world, and some of which are being considered as platforms for the Greek armed forces. 

HIMARS and Black Hawks

Known for its effectiveness, the US M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) manufactured by Lockheed Martin is expected to be present at DEFEA. This powerful weapon system remains at the centre of interest for its successes on the battlefield and following the recent announcement by Lockheed Martin and Rheinmetall of their joint development of a German rocket artillery system similar to HIMARS.   

The UH-60M helicopter, the legendary Sikorsky/Lockheed Martin Black Hawk, is also expected to play a leading role at the exhibition. It is one of the most popular military helicopters in the world, with over 5,000 aircraft serving in 35 countries and with more than 15 million flight hours, over four million of which have been logged in combat environments. The helicopter that is coming to Athens is the latest ‘Mike’ version, or UH-60M. 

The Black Hawk is, in fact, under consideration to replace the Greek Army’s ageing UH-1 Huey helicopter and is also participating in the selection process to find a new search-and-rescue platform for the Greek Air Force. The Greek Navy already uses a version of this helicopter, the S-70 Aegean Hawk, while in the coming months even more modern MH-60R Seahawk anti-submarine helicopters of the same H-60 family are expected to arrive in Greece. The General Directorate of Defense Equipment and Investments in Athens has already sent the relevant request for the potential acquisition of Black Hawks for the Greek Army and is awaiting Washington’s response.

A strong US presence

At DEFEA 2023 the US Army will also present the M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System in its most modern A2 version, which features a new fire control system allowing the use of precision ammunition, a 600 hp engine, an upgraded transmission system, and improved cabin armour. According to reports, the US Army plans to upgrade its entire fleet of 225 M270A1 and 160 decommissioned M270A0 systems to the A2 version.

Visitors to the exhibition will also have the opportunity to learn about the Oshkosh Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV), which is used by the US Army, US Marine Corps, and US Special Operations Command. In fact, this is one of the vehicles that can be equipped with the Israeli Spike NLOS missile system, which will soon be available to the Greek armed forces. Of particular interest is the largest series of vehicles from Oshkosh, the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV), which is also used by the US Army.

The Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, as well as the Black Hawk and Apache helicopters, will be among the US military platforms showcased at DEFEA 2023. (Photo: DEFEA)


At DEFEA 2023 the US Army will also showcase the powerful M1134 Anti-Tank Guided Missile Vehicle: a TOW-missile-carrying variant of the Stryker family of 8×8 armoured fighting vehicles (AFVs) that is used as the primary tank destroyer of the US Army’s Stryker brigade combat teams.

Those attending DEFEA 2023 will also be able to take a close look at the US version of the Textron M1117 Guardian 4×4 armoured vehicle, which was recently introduced into service with the Greek armed forces. Athens is set to receive a total of 1,200 vehicles of this type through the US Excess Defense Articles programme, with hundreds already delivered and the rest arriving in the coming months.

In the context of the upgraded defence co-operation between Athens and Washington, major US defence companies and defence-related organization will be present at DEFEA 2023, including Aviation Procurement Systems, BAE Systems, Boeing, D&M Ammunition Manufacturing Solutions, Dillon Aero, Erickson Inc, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc, Lockheed Martin, Onex, Pratt & Whitney, Raytheon Technologies Corporation, State of Missouri International Trade & Investment, EWR Radar Systems, Masterclock, Textron Systems, Titanium Industries, Velos Rotors Inc, By-Linear/By-Light, Summit Aviation Inc, Alpha Systems, Air Industrial – G Alexandris and Join Stock Co, Total View, Aeroservices, S3 Aerodefense, Northrop Grumman, and Cubit Digital Intelligence.