The Minister of National Defence Mr. Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos attended today 2 December 2021, the official acceptance of forty-four M1117 Guardian Armoured Security Vehicles (ASV), from a total of 1,200 that were supplied by the US Army. The acceptance ceremony was held at the 301 Base Depot at Agioi Anargyroi, Attica.
The ceremony was also attended by the Chief/HNDGS General Konstantinos Floros, the Chief/HAGS Lieutenant General Charalambos Laloussis and the General Secretary of the Ministry of National Defence Mr. Antonios Oikonomou.
After the ceremony was concluded, Mr. Panagiotopoulos stated the following:
“Ladies and Gentlemen,
I feel very honoured and happy to be given the opportunity today to attend the acceptance of the first forty-four M1117 ASV, from a total of 1,200 vehicles of this type that will enhance the Army’s operational capabilities and grant him a new dynamic. Another very good moment for our Army, and this is what happens at all ceremonies regarding the integration of a new weapon system; let me also tell you something that might be novel: Our task, our duty and our commitment goes further than agreeing, activating the relevant sub-programmes and proceeding to their contractualisation; we have now reached the stage of their acceptance and I think that this can only be a positive development.
Within a period that lasted a little longer than two years, since the end of 2019, when I heard for the first time this idea of procuring these vehicles from the US Office of Defence Cooperation (ODC) in Greece, which informed HAGS on the US Army’s plan to withdraw and deliver M1117 Vehicles as Excess Defence Article (EDA), the supply of these vehicles is completed with very fast and targeted actions.
Congratulations to all the bodies involved, on their speed and coordination, as far as the completion of all the necessary procedures is concerned, as they are never simple and known. This effort is included in the overall network of actions assumed by the political and military leadership of the Ministry of National Defence – in good cooperation, something that is proven by the results – so as to increase the operational capability of the country’s Armed Forces.
The M1117 will enhance the existing weapon systems, offering new capabilities to the Army. The range of the missions they can accomplish guarantees their successful integration and exploitation.
Greece’s geopolitical environment, and the threats it faces in the regions of Evros, the Aegean Sea and the East Mediterranean in general, compel us to constantly be at operational alertness and to seek, maintain and enhance our deterrence capability at the appropriate level.
The Armed Forces, in this particular case the Army, have always been the guarantor of the territorial integrity and national sovereignty of our country, and the defender of our national interests, They make the country a strong and trustworthy ally, who plays an active role in international developments, but also a strong deterrence force, for any aspiring opponents or those scheming.
For this reason, the political and military leadership work incessantly and coordinated, aiming at the optimum utilization of human resources, the upgrading of the Armed Forces’ capabilities, both by acquiring new weapon systems and by supporting and upgrading the existing ones, as well as by enhancing the country’s international alliances.
Today we receive the first forty-four of 1,200 vehicles. Of course, the supply does not end here; interventions will be needed so that they will be upgraded, mainly regarding the addition of weapon systems that will also carry some communication system. Our goal is to accelerate the procedures, so that, after these additions, the vehicles will be fully operational. The fact alone that these 1,200 vehicles are delivered to us cost-free, when their cost would be nearly a billion dollars, as his Excellency -and a good friend of ours- the Ambassador said, makes this procurement very advantageous. Obviously, there are transportation costs which are not insignificant, however, let’s not forget that we are talking about 1,200 vehicles. And this total, which will be added to the Army’s –and the Armed Forces’ in general- capabilities, is not insignificant at all.
I would like to thank you and your team, for the excellent level of cooperation achieved between the US Embassy and the Ministry of National Defence in the field of defence cooperation; it is one more unwavering confirmation of the flourishing strategic relation between Greece and the US, and the continuous cooperation between the Greek and the US Armed Forces. Our efforts are in extending, enriching and enhancing this cooperation; things seem to be happening on a daily basis. We shall try to see this tomorrow in Alexandroupoli, yet we believe that the best are yet to come, and the strategic cooperation is currently at an excellent level. There are still more for us to do, and we are all committed to this direction. Thank you for your personal contribution, and your team’s contribution; be reassured that we will also do, and carry on doing, our best.
Concluding, I would like to say that I am certain that the M1117 Guardian Armoured Security Vehicles will give a new impetus to the operational planning of our Army’s formations, giving them the possibility to perform a broad range of missions; I would also like to congratulate all the bodies involved in the selection and completion of this procurement of a reliable weapon system.