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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Greece Welcomes Russian Hovercraft Into Naval Fleet

ATHENS, Greece - Navy officials hoisted the Greek flag Monday on a Russian-built hovercraft - the first of four such craft ordered as part of an arms program aimed at keeping pace with traditional rival Turkey.

The Zubr-type hovercraft, which was upgraded and refitted at the Almaz Shipyards in St. Petersburg, is capable of traveling at 110 kilometers an hour) and can carry tanks or other military equipment.

Under a nearly $200 million deal, Greece will purchase two craft from the Russian firm Rosvooruzheniye and two from the Ukrainian company Ukrspetsexport.

Despite a recent thaw in relations with Turkey, Greece has not slowed its costly military build-up. Up to 4.5 trillion drachmas ($15 billion) could be spent by 2005 on weapons, enhanced warfare technology and efforts to modernize the armed forces.