The slick OH-58 Kiowa will soon be buzzing the Aegean skies.

But how can the bankrupt Greek economy afford the purchase, I can hear you asking.  Well, have you ever wondered what happens to old US military equipment?

Once retired, US military hardware is often given to friendly countries.  All an interested government has to do is send a letter of request to the State Department.  Requests can fall under three categories: Foreign Military Sales (FMS), Foreign Military Financing (FMF), or Excess Defense Articles (EDA).

Image courtesy of DVIDS Hub.

The difference between the three is simple.

Let’s say Qatar wants to buy more F-15s.  Since the Qatari Treasury is the opposite of the Greek, Qatar will file an FMS instead of an EDA request.  If approved, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) executes the program.

But not all countries can afford new equipment.  And that’s what FMF is for.  Often, Uncle Sam will offer grants or loans so countries can purchase that F-16 fighter or M1 Abrams tank they crave.

As for the EDA, the US military departments continually identify excess material.  When interested countries, which can’t buy new or don’t receive grants, want something, they use this option.  They only pay for admin stuff such as packaging and transportation.  And that’s how bankrupt Greece added 70 OH-58D Kiowa Armed Reconnaissance Helicopters to her fleet.

Equipment can vary from frigates and jets, on the high-end, to rifles and ammo, on the low.