The article of the “Hellenic Defence & Technology” magazine, regarding the possible acquisition of 400 used M1A1 tanks from the U.S. surplus for the Greek Army, which was republished in English by defencegreece.com attracted the attention of news media in many countries, mainly in Europe, during the last few days. Starting from Finland, which is most reluctant to further finance the bailout of Greece, this news story was broadcasted in several other media in European countries and elsewhere.
Despite the consecutive deep cuts in the Greek defense budget over the last years, this news story regarding the M1A1 tanks was heavily criticized in Europe with the focus being on the argument of how it is possible to lend money to Greece in order to be saved from bankruptcy and Greece using that money to obtain tanks. According to capital.gr, Andreas Meltzer, MP of the right-wing populist opposition party ‘Freedom Party of Austria’ (FPÖ) in the European Parliament, is asking the Austrian government if this news story is true. He is also stating that it is unacceptable if all these billions of Euros of Austrian taxpayers given to Athens are spent there for lucrative arms procurements. He is further asking why Greece is not buying tanks from a European country. This news story about the American tanks caused hot discussions, which are reflected in the comments section of the article here in defencegreece.com and in other blogs and forum.
On the other hand, the Greek defense press mainly sees this issue as an opportunity for the Greek Army to replace older outdated equipment without any significant cost. However, it should be noted that during the last few years the Greek defence press has published a number of news stories concerning possible new arms acquisitions from Greece. However, almost none of these prospect deals, with the exception of 223 German M-109 surplus howitzers granted to Greece for €16.598.720 in 2010, has not materialize, mainly due to the financial constraints imposed by the current economic crisis.