MILAN — Greece has announced its first domestically build combat drone, the Grypas, with the initial scaled aircraft expected by 2025.
In September, the Hellenic Aerospace Industry in cooperation with the Aristotle, Thessaly and Democritus universities presented Greece’s first national drone, the Archytas, advertised as the inaugural system in a line of upcoming unmanned technologies.
The Grypas, announced Jan. 13, is the second platform born out of that joint production. While the development of the drone will follow a very similar pattern as the Archytas project, its design will be based on a different concept of operations to respond to diverse mission requirements.
Whereas the Archytas is intended to perform reconnaissance and surveillance above Greek islands, the Grypas will serve as a multipurpose system equipped for combat assignments.
“Universities will contribute their knowledge at specific and already defined domains, mostly regarding the non-operational part of the drone. Certification, integration and mission aspects will be covered exclusively by HAI as the sole owner of the product.” Nikos Koklas, director of research, design and new programs at HAI, told Defense News in a Jan. 24 email.
“However, in the Grypas case, the aircraft itself and the payload will be significantly larger with a more modular design,” Koklas added.
The first phase of the Grypas project is to conclude within the next two years, by 2025, and produce a scaled version.
At the January program announcement, Defence Minister Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos hinted at tension between Greece and Turkey, both of whom are NATO members. “Our neighboring countries spent a lot of time, more than 10 years, in order to develop their own products. We, however, can, I think, go faster,” the minister said.
The Grypas’ first customer will be the Hellenic Armed Forces. Once operational, the military could likely station the systems at the recently upgraded Larissa air base — the headquarters of the Heron and Pegasus II UAV squadrons.
Elisabeth Gosselin-Malo is a Europe correspondent for Defense News. She covers a wide range of topics related to military procurement and international security, and specializes in reporting on the aviation sector. She is based in Milan, Italy.