In May this year, DEFEA 2023 brought together defense and security industry professionals, giving them the opportunity to showcase their latest innovations, network, exchange ideas, and set the foundations for fruitful partnerships.
For the second consecutive time, the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce—with the full support of the Embassy of the United States of America—organized the exhibition’s highly successful USA Pavilion, featuring some of the world’s leading defense companies and their cutting edge technologies, systems and services. In this context, Business Partners asked this issue’s Thought Leaders to share their thoughts on the present and future of the industry and the ever-stronger defense partnership between Greece and the United States.
Exploring Partnerships for Defense and Stability
By Randy Fields, Vice President and General Manager, Cubic Digital Intelligence
Silver Sponsor • Exhibitor
As a high-profile international exhibition, DEFEA 2023 presented an excellent opportunity for Cubic to demonstrate our capabilities as a leading solutions provider and engage with important stakeholders from the region.
United in our shared values and interests, we can bolster regional safety and security, foster stability, and expand economic opportunities
Greece and the United States’ partnership is truly something to celebrate. Greece’s pivotal role in the Eastern Mediterranean contributes significantly to global security and stability, and as a longstanding NATO member, the country serves as an invaluable ally for the United States in the pursuit of strategic interests. Furthermore, the United States can contribute substantial commercially available resources to Greece’s public safety, national security, and disaster relief efforts, further strengthening their bond. The strong economic ties between the two nations should also be highlighted, as Greece is one of the United States’ top trading partners and serves as a gateway to the European market, presenting vast opportunities for growth, collaboration, and integration for US businesses, including Cubic.
Our shared values of democracy, rule of law, and human rights, along with a commitment to regional peace and stability, underscore the partnership’s importance. Our vision is clear: We are keen to nurture and grow the Greece-US partnership. United in our shared values and interests, we can bolster regional safety and security, foster stability, and expand economic opportunities. Participating in DEFEA 2023 has paved the way for these exciting prospects. Our gratitude goes to the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce and DEFEA’s organizers for creating such a well-executed event and to all those who visited our exhibit at the USA Pavilion. We are eager to continue the dialogue and explore the partnerships initiated during this dynamic tradeshow.
Turnkey Solutions for Ammunition and Primer Manufacturing
By Gregory Filias, Marketing Director, D&M Ammunition Manufacturing Solutions
There has been a tremendous surge in demand for small arms ammunition in the face of Ukraine’s efforts to defend itself against Russia’s attack, as well as due to other global challenges, and Greek National Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos has vowed to continue to support Ukraine with more arms, ammunition, and other assistance.
D&M has the depth and breadth to understand specific project needs, provide true production systems integration, and deliver advanced solutions
With its unmatched ammunition industry experience in providing turnkey ammunition and primer manufacturing solutions—having designed and supplied projectile and case manufacturing equipment to, and established complete production systems integration for ammunition factories around the world— D&M Ammunition Manufacturing Solutions is in an ideal position to help groups and organizations such as Hellenic Defense Systems keep up with increasing demand.
As a United States-based and headquartered company, D&M Ammunition Manufacturing Solutions can work with militaries, related government entities and other defense and security industry stakeholders to either help them establish ammunition and primer manufacturing operations or to expand existing operations for greater capacity. With a workforce of over 100 ammunition and energetics professionals and over 700 years of combined ammunition industry experience, D&M has the depth and breadth to understand specific project needs, provide true production systems integration, and deliver advanced solutions that fulfill all needs and objectives. New primer manufacturing capability and support has recently gone online in Cabot, Arkansas, serving to better position D&M as a single source for comprehensive centerfire ammunition manufacturing solutions, equipment, and training.
Boeing and Greece: A Strong, Enduring Defense Partnership
By Heidi Grant, President, Business Development, Boeing Defense, Space and Security and Global Services
Strategic Sponsor • Exhibitor
As we celebrate our longstanding relationship with Greece, the Hellenic Armed Force and Greek defense industry, we are proud to support the Hellenic Armed Forces’ extensive fleet of over 200 defense products, which include the combat-proven and battle-tested AH-64 Apache attack helicopters and CH-47 Chinook advanced heavy lift helicopters. The Hellenic Air Force has Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) on their F-16 Block 52/52+ and the Hellenic Navy has been a Harpoon customer since 1980. Greece has also operated the F-4 Phantom. In addition, Boeing commercial aircraft are in service with Greece’s national airlines.
Together, the US and Greece are advancing shared goals, united by democratic values, for peace and prosperity
We welcome the strong relationship and partnership between the United States and Greece given Greece’s leadership in the region and being a longstanding North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) ally and EU partner. Together the two countries are advancing shared goals, united by democratic values, for peace and prosperity in the Eastern Mediterranean, Western Balkans, Black Sea region, and beyond.
The United States Army and Hellenic Armed Forces have participated in joint exercises and training missions with US and Greek AH-64 Apaches and CH-47 Chinook helicopters. Joint training exercises have involved transporting troops, aerial coverage operations, and providing medical evacuation capabilities to Greek special operations forces. These collective training opportunities are strengthening the partnership and operational teamwork across multinational allies and partners, improving interoperability and relationships with allied and partnered nations, including Greece. Boeing has been focused on supporting the missions of the Hellenic Armed Forces with the intent to optimize the readiness of its defense helicopter fleet through a customer-centric approach, providing advanced capabilities and delivering value through sustainment and training services and local, on-ground support.
In support of advancing a long and prosperous relationship with Greek industry, Boeing is also building mutually beneficial relationships with Greek stakeholders and decisionmakers to advance the interests of aerospace and defense as a global industry and to underscore the vital contribution to Greek and European competitiveness and growth. Boeing has successfully implemented Industrial Participation programs in Greece and maintained collaborative relations with industry partners. These partnerships are important linkages that are integral to our bilateral security cooperation with Greece and also key tenets of our active local presence that remain at the root of our contribution to Europe’s economic and technological growth.
As a leading global aerospace company, Boeing is continuously looking at ways to deepen its partnerships with military customers and industry partners around the world and with Greece in particular. We look forward to growing the partnership for decades to come so we can advance economic opportunity, sustainability and community impact.
Stronger Together: Strengthening Collaborations Through All Domains
By Jonathan Hoyle, CE Europe, Lockheed Martin
Strategic Sponsor • Exhibitor
Today’s national security challenges demand networked platforms and solutions that provide unparalleled impact. Guided by our 21st Century Security vision and with our deep understanding of our customers’ evolving mission needs, Lockheed Martin is well-positioned to lead the transformation of the defense industry to ensure our forces are ready for what’s ahead and poised to deter potential enemies to prevail against any threat—in any place, at any time. Our 21CS vision integrates new and existing systems across all domains with advanced, open-architecture networking and operational technologies that optimize their effect and lethality, providing military forces with more range, speed, agility, resilience and rapid decision-making advantages. We are bringing together physical world advanced technologies (e.g. stealth aircraft, directed energy, hypersonics, space-based sensors) with the digital world’s advanced technologies (e.g. 5G, AI, autonomy, resilient cyber solutions, distributed cloud computing).
Lockheed Martin is honored to have a vital role in providing the most advanced interoperable capabilities that allow Greece to stay ahead of growing threats
Greece is undertaking impressive modernization efforts to improve its security and Lockheed Martin is honored to have a vital role in providing the most advanced interoperable capabilities that allow Greece to stay ahead of growing threats. As a leading defense company, we bring a decades-long partnership with Greek industry and remain committed to offering long-term partnerships that include the creation of high-skilled jobs as well as investments into research, academia and technology transfer.
Last year, Greece submitted a request to the US government for the purchase of fifth-generation F-35 fighter jets to strengthen Greece’s ability to meet sovereign and NATO commitments, to contribute to global security and to interoperate in coalition operations. The F-35’s stealth capabilities are crucial to keeping Greece secure for years to come, allowing Greek pilots to covertly patrol, monitor and conduct surveillance without being tracked and to safely protect Greece’s air space. More recently, Greece also submitted a request to purchase UH-60M helicopters and we look forward to supporting the two governments in their discussion to add the Hellenic Armed Forces to the Blackhawk family of users. Additionally, jointly with HAI, we are upgrading 84 F-16 jets to the cutting-edge V configuration, providing 21CS capabilities; these upgraded Vipers will be the most advanced F-16s in Europe, enhancing Greek national security. The F-16V upgrades are being performed at HAI, bringing valuable jobs and investment to Greece. We are also continuing to work with the Hellenic and US Navy to support Greece’s P-3B Orion modernization program, which will add 15,000 flight hours to Greece’s Orion fleet, keeping the vital maritime patrol asset flying for decades to come.
Furthermore, in partnership with established Greek company Aeroservices and under Hellenic Navy guidance and supervision, Sikorsky is performing the sustainment of the S-70B/B6 fleet. We also remain ready to support discussions about the interest in C-130 Hercules transport aircraft. We believe these aircraft can make a significant contribution in assisting Greece in its ongoing efforts in the Mediterranean and beyond.
Greece’s vision and actions to safeguard its future security and prosperity together with Lockheed Martin’s vision and cutting-edge technologies are force multipliers and we are excited for a future where we are able to move forward together.
Restructuring: A Vital Step for the Hellenic Defense Industry
By Dimitrios Dafnis, CEO and Chairman, Aeroservices
Silver Sponsor • Exhibitor
We stand at the dawn of a new era for Greece’s defense industry, after a decade of austerity measures made a significant impact on the Hellenic Armed Forces. The involvement of local companies at that time was not feasible due to the urgent need for immediate solutions, which limited options to what was readily available. Substantial investments are now being made to make up for lost time in the best interest of the Greek military. Flexible and localized alternative approaches, which will alleviate the incumbent legal constraints and provide flexibility while maintaining the same efficiency in terms of quality, price and safety, can be achieved through local industry participation. This task suits the use of local expert companies with excellent performance records and immediate interest in the field of research and development and provision of services. The role of the local industry could be characterized as the sole-source key player for programs with unique characteristics, attributes and specific objectives. Such sources, qualified to the industry’s recognized standards, could be selected, approved, vetted, and delegated for the procurement of articles and provision of services.
Flexible and localized alternative approaches can be achieved through local industry participation
In the years to come, we expect all new systems to be incorporated into the Hellenic Armed Forces. Local industry must adapt to the new environment and allocate resources to the orientation and restructuring process in order to be capable of sustaining operations and business functions. This is vitally important and also a step forward toward establishing a solid supporting network for the Hellenic Armed Forces. It is also a first step for penetration into the defense programs of neighboring countries.
Supporting Military Readiness in the Face of Regional and Global Threats
By Brigadier General (Rtd, Hellenic Air Force) George Katsanis, Executive Vice President, Aviation Procurement Systems (APS)
DEFEA is an important event that serves to connect US and Greek defense companies to the broader region and to a world changed by the aggression of certain countries. Countries across Europe and Middle Eastern countries are now reversing a decade-long trend of falling behind on the upkeep of legacy aircraft—a trend that persisted despite the fact that these legacy aircraft often comprise the vast majority of each country’s air force. Over the past year, countries in this region have been pushing to drastically increase operability and have been prioritizing keeping as many aircraft in the air and on the ready line as possible in the face of growing regional and global threats.
The world is changing, and APS is helping allied forces change with it
Aviation Procurement Systems (APS), a member of the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce and a USA Pavilion exhibitor at DEFEA 2023, is proud to be on the frontline of supplying allied governments with the parts, services, and expertise to boost overall readiness of legacy aircraft. As an approved vendor for armed forces in nearly three dozen countries around the world, and as one of few Greek-American defense contractors, APS is in a unique position to fulfill many of the needs of the Hellenic, American, and NATO militaries. The world is changing, and APS is helping allied forces change with it in order to protect against emerging and growing threats in an effort to keep the peace, maintain stability, and ensure defensive superiority.
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have significantly changed many sectors, particularly the defense and military industry. Their main advantages for military use include better reconnaissance and surveillance, extremely low cost and maintenance compared to conventional aircraft, customizable command and control software and maximum payload capacity.
The contribution of DEFEA 2023 is undeniable
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly known as drones, are aircraft with no onboard pilots. They can be either fully autonomous or remotely piloted vehicles (RPVs). Unmanned helicopters, with longer flight time and with vertical take-off and landing capabilities, are the ideal aircrafts for defense applications. Velos Rotors, a US-based incorporation with offices both in the USA and Greece, is specialized in designing and manufacturing top of the line unmanned helicopters in the 25 kg/55 lbs. class. Our main solution, Velos V3 is a low cost all-weather group 2 UAV that features a fully redundant twin engine design with IP65 certification, which can fly even in adverse weather conditions; case in point, Velos V3 is used by South Korea’s coastguard for monitoring shorelines and lifesaving operations. In addition, our UAV is currently deployed by Ukrainian military forces in conflict areas.
The contribution of DEFEA 2023, a major international exhibition of great significance to the defense industry, is undeniable. Velos Rotors’ participation in the USA Pavilion gave us the opportunity to showcase our achievements and impact on the defense industry, while highlighting the efficient and close cooperation between the United States and Greece.
A country’s defenses can only truly be strong if its defensive systems are supported by the local market and industry, and indeed with the contribution not only of purely defense-focused companies but also of dual-role companies that bring significant knowhow to the table.
As is the case with all major industry exhibitions across sectors, DEFEA is more than just a place and time for industry professionals to come together, network and exchange ideas. It is outstandingly organized in accordance with international standards and serves as an accessible and comprehensive platform that can both showcase the Hellenic Armed Forces and highlight all the relevant knowhow the industry requires, underlining the Greek defense and security industry’s export potential—an area, along with defense diplomacy, in which there is room for improvement.
We aim to drive the extroversion of the Greek defense and security industry
Alpha Systems is strategically partnered with Summit Aviation, an industry leader in helicopter MRO, which also works with the Hellenic Armed Forces and is seeking to transfer that part of its operations to Greece in order to utilize local talent and retain knowhow. This partnership and goal formed the core of Alpha Systems’ participation as exhibitor in the USA Pavilion at DEFEA 2023, while we also actively participate in the TIF and AUSA exhibitions, prioritizing first the Hellenic Armed Forces and then our international clientele.
Alpha Systems is also strategically partnered with Nokia Global Services for platforms and smart systems, while we also work with three major companies on land systems and vehicles. Our work in defense is comprehensive and multifaceted, and we aim to drive the extroversion of the Greek defense and security industry.
A Multi-Domain Advantage
By Aria Mahdion, Region Vice President, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc.
At a time of increased global challenges, Greece has the opportunity to join the world’s most advanced nations in transforming its military, intelligence, security operations, and more. The key to this transformation is the MQ-9B SeaGuardian remotely piloted aircraft system, which the United States, United Kingdom, Belgium, India, Japan, and others are turning to in order to expand their maritime domain awareness, connect their forces, and carry out some of their most critical missions.
Greece has the opportunity to join the world’s most advanced nations in transforming its military, intelligence, and security operations
Adapted from the world’s most proven family of remotely piloted aircraft, SeaGuardian does things nothing else can: It can fly for approximately 40 hours and was built from the wheels up to not only be certifiable but also for operations in non-segregated airspace, mixed in with everyday aviation traffic. Onboard sensors provide high-definition electro-optical or infrared video any time of the day or night; and an onboard radar sees through clouds, haze, smoke, or fog. The aircraft can also accommodate a growing number of specialized payloads to handle virtually any mission, on its own or in concert with other unmanned or manned units.
Critical to translating the data collected by the aircraft’s onboard sensors into actionable intelligence products is General Atomics’ Optix software suite. Optix allows operators to control multiple payloads simultaneously and generate intelligence products in real time with its TacSit-C2 module. These systems take the intelligence gathered by the SeaGuardian and interpret and distribute it seamlessly so that navies, coast guard agencies, border authorities, or others can decide and act better and quicker than ever before.
Old Threats, New Challenges and the Greek Defense Industry
By Dr. Vasileios Vrettos, Chief Operating Officer, By Linear
Greece is situated in a conflict-prone region where the use of force is still considered an option by some neighboring revisionist powers. Greece relies on its strong Armed Forces and its participation in all West European security and political organizations to deter external threats and challenges. Therefore, the country historically spends a significant amount of its GDP on protecting its territorial integrity and vital interests. Defense procurements are covered through imports mainly from its European partners and the United States. It is, however, a sobering thought that those expenses usually do not include R&D or industrial co-production allocations.
Greece needs to develop a sound and coherent strategy to work in favor of the Greek defense sector
This long-problematic mentality must change. New technology developments and the acquisition of cutting-edge defensive equipment must be accompanied by a shift in culture and strategy to support Greek defense industries. The central criterion of the choice of an industrial partner should not be the weapon itself but the transfer of technology and the technological knowledge that will form the basis for new dynamic development concepts that will cover the entire life cycle of the material under development as well as the production, control of certification, maintenance, modifications, improvements, and finally upgrades.
Greece needs to develop a sound and coherent strategy to work in favor of the Greek defense sector—not on its own, but through competent subcontracting with Greece’s allies. The industry needs synergies. The strong relationships with the USA, must boost the prospects of the Greek defense sector and drive its growth.
Shielding Greece’s Interests in the Eastern Mediterranean
By Panos Xenokostas, CEO and President, ONEX Group
Platinum Sponsor • Exhibitor
In recent years, Greece has been on a dynamic reconstruction path, claiming a pivotal role in the geopolitical developments in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Balkan Peninsula. This effort is taking place in an environment rife with challenges and intense competition from other regional powers, such as Turkey, that are trying to expand their geopolitical influence at Greece’s expense, and while the wider region is suffering from military conflicts (Russian invasion of Ukraine) and civil conflicts (Libya).
The development of domestic knowhow and technological advancement is an absolute priority
In this reality, it is more urgent than ever for Greece to unfold a coherent and effective plan of actions and initiatives to effectively strengthen the domestic defense industry. This will only come to fruition if the Greek defense ecosystem boosts cooperation between domestic companies, small and large, that lead the way in new technologies and are characterized by a modern industrial and technological footprint of high standards. ONEX Group has undertaken a number of initiatives in this direction, aspiring to play a leading role in the development of Greece’s defense capabilities against threats of all kinds—whether military, climate change, or other—in the years to come.
The brightest pages of Greek history are interwoven with the sea. Hellenism prospered through the development of shipping, both merchant and naval. Therefore, it is easy for us to understand the need for a strong shipbuilding and repair industry in Greece, as a necessary stepping stone for the country’s economic development and defense. This also constitutes a pillar for the pioneering Greek shipping enhancing our diplomatic footprint. At the forefront of our presence, our two shipyards with their long history and a sizeable footprint in the Greek seas and the Greek Navy: Elefsina Shipyards and Neorio Shipyards. Over the last decade, the Elefsina Shipyards have undertaken major repair projects to support and improve the field effectiveness of the Greek Navy and the Greek Fire Brigade and have created synergies with major companies in the field, such as the UK’s Vosper Thorneycroft.
The prospects of the domestic defense industry, however, cannot flourish without the development of new production lines prioritizing the construction of all necessary equipment for the Greek Navy, from basic components to modern weapon systems. For this reason, We have established a strong cooperation network with the Italian shipbuilding behemoth Fincantieri and other companies in the field of technology—such as Leonardo, MBDA Italia, and Elettronica—aiming to create a domestic state-of-the-art production line for corvettes.
For ONEX Group, the development of domestic knowhow and technological advancement is an absolute priority. With this prime target, several Greek companies are actively participating in the above scheme, creating a strong industrial ecosystem around Elefsina Shipyards, being ready to undertake the crucial program for building the new naval corvettes. ONEX Group’s vision demonstrates the development of a regional shipbuilding center in the Eastern Mediterranean with the mission to support the Greek fleet, as well as the warships of allied countries, offering advanced knowledge and high specialization and providing holistic solutions for the warship of the 21st century.