On a cumulative basis, the country is forecast to spend a total of US$30.56 billion over the forecast period (2013-2017) on defense and related areas and in the same period, the allocation of funding for the acquisition of military hardware and technology is projected to value US$13.2 billion. Greeces domestic defense sector has evolved in the fields of assembly and MRO and caters exclusively to the requirements of the Hellenic Armed Forces (reference graph below).
In 2011, Greece allocated 2.0% of its GDP to defense expenditure, a figure that represents the highest GDP allocation among EU members. In addition, the country is the largest importer of arms in the EU region. Defense procurements are structured into five year programs, and frequently the allocated budget for a future five year program is used to pay the debts incurred during the current program, a method that results in escalating defense budget deficits. Greece is currently concentrating on the reduction of defense allocation as a percentage of GDP, in order to reach the recommended EU level of 2%.
Greece is involved in a long standing territorial dispute with Turkey, over the Cyprus region and a maritime boundary in the Gulf of Aegean. The air forces conduct drills in each others airspace and the situation has twice nearly escalated to armed conflicts. Consequently, the two nations engage in near identical military procurements, and Greeces position as the largest arms importer in the EU, representing 17% of arms transferred, is seconded by Turkey, accounting for 10%. A significant differentiating factor in the arms race between the two countries is that Turkey is in an economically stronger position than Greece, and is therefore able to fund an increased level of acquisitions. In contrast, Greece has a small economy with very high budget deficits, which has resulted in the countrys high level of GDP allocation for defense and this method affects other essential sectors.
In 2004, Greece exported used ships and missiles to Georgia, and as part of EU support initiatives, provided used armored vehicles to Iraq. However, the country has not exported any defense systems during the last seven years. The countrys defense industry primarily manufactures in order to cater to the domestic demand of the Hellenic Armed Forces. As a result of defense expenditure reductions as a consequence of the countrys financial crisis, the defense export market is expected to remain limited over the forecast period due a lack of investment.
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