Greece has announced plans to purchase 18 Rafale fighter jets from France as the country seeks to strengthen its defence capabilities amid escalating tensions with Turkey.

BBC quoted Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis as saying that it will also acquire four frigates and four navy helicopters.

Additionally, Greece aims to increase the size of the armed forces by 15,000 soldiers in the next five years.

In the past, Greece ordered 40 Mirage F1 in 1974 from Dassault Aviation, 40 Mirage 2000 in 1985 and 15 Mirage 2000-5 in 2000.

Rafale jets are multirole fighter jets manufactured by Dassault Aviation.

Dassault Aviation chairman and CEO Eric Trappier said: “I am delighted with this announcement, which reinforces the exceptional relationship we have had with Greece for nearly half a century, and I thank the Greek authorities for their confidence in us once again.

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“Dassault Aviation is fully mobilised to meet the operational needs expressed by the Greek Air Force, and thus contribute to ensuring Greece’s sovereignty and the safety of the Greek people.”

Greece and its neighbouring country, Turkey, are currently involved in a dispute over oil and gas exploration in contested waters.

Tensions recently intensified after Turkish seismic vessel Oruc Reis sailed through a disputed area of the Mediterranean.

Last month, Turkey extended the work of its survey vessel in the Mediterranean, which further escalated the already high tensions.

Media reports have stated that the survey vessel has departed from the disputed waters.

Last week, the Indian Air Force (IAF) formally inducted the first five Rafale multirole aircraft at Ambala Air Force Station, India.