Israeli F-16I pilots use Greece’s S-300 SAMs to prepare for potential Iran air strikes

Israeli F-16I pilots get S-300 training opportunity

The Israeli Air Force has used INIOXOS-2015, one the largest annual exercise of the Hellenic Air Force, to prepare for a potential situation where it will have to attack Iranian nuclear facilities by performing missions against the S-300PMU-1 surface-to-air missile system, stationed in Crete, according to Flightglobal.

Russia has recently lifted the ban on sale of S-300 systems to Iran.

The S-300 is a mobile air defense system that couples a radars capable to track multiple targets with long-range missiles to hit aerial targets at a distance of 150 km and an altitude up to 27,000 meters. Although well-known to the western air forces, it remains a lethal SAM system that Iran could field to protect its nuclear sites.

From Apr. 20 to 30, at least 150 combat planes from all Combat Wings/Squadrons of the HAF performed various missions, day and night, such as Counter Air Operations against Integrated Air Defence Systems, Anti Surface Force Air Operations, Fighter Sweep, HVAAE (High Value Asset Air Escort), Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR), Time Sensitive Targets, Dynamic Targeting – Time Sensitive Targets.

Israel deployed 10 F-16I Sufa jets from four Squadrons (201 «The One», 253 «The Negev», 107 «The Knights of the Orange Tail» and 119 «The Bat) at the 117 Combat Wing/Andravida Air Base and U.S. Air Force in Europe dispatched a number of SF personnel as JTACs (Joint Terminal Attack Controllers).

The Israeli AF Commander Maj Gen Amir Eshel visited the troops and flew at least one mission over Aegean Sea along with his Greek counterpart Lt Gen Christos Vaitsis (with F-16D Block52+ ADV of 335 Sq. “Tiger”).

Thanks to the exercise in Greece (not the first attended by the Israeli since the deterioration of their relations with Turkey), the Israeli Air Force has gathered important data about the Russian SAM system and had the opportunity to test and improve evasion tactics during simulated attacks against ground targets protected by S-300 batteries.

H/T e-Amyna for the heads-up

F-16I in Greece

Image credit: IAF and HAF

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. Israel will never attack Iran, she will bait the U.S. into doing that. BiBi has been crying about the big bad Iranian wolf for years, and still he has not attacked (remember, just like when he, Ariel Sharon, and the neocons made Saddam Hussein out to be the next Hitler). Why do you think??, because he would rather American blood and money be spilled than Jewish blood and money. Not to mention there was a poll taken in Israel that said 63% of Israelis would prefer the U.S. attack Iran and not their own country. Gee, I wonder why?? And you can put all the conformal fuel tanks you want on an F-16, still will not able to fly round trip to central Iran-

    If you are tired of the Obama Democratic welfare state, and tired of the Republican neocons lying us into another needless war; vote Rand Paul in 2016-

  2. The difference is that Iran is far larger (nearly the size of Alaska) than Syria or Iraq; and the distances are also far greater than Syria or Iraq. So comparing Iran to them is rather illogical.

  3. I never said it can’t happen. Even you see Iran feels militarily threatened – airstrikes against the reactors, the Saudi’s flexing muscles, an 8 year war.

    Weighs greater towards buying new weapons first. Economic pain so be it.

    • As it turns out Saudi is starting to feel the financial pressure.

      The IMF recently came out with a statement that they are facing a cash crisis and if the price of oil does not do a major reversal in the next 5 years they might end up experiencing their first ever deficit in trade and financing.

      Added to the above pressures, their water aquifers are estimated to dry out in the next 2 years because they decided against advise to exploit them to quickly and on such a large scale so it would mean a return of wheat etc imports.

      The Iranians have lived under sanctions for decades so could live with a low oil price as it would seem.

      I’m actually just not sure what the Saudi’s will do, I’ve noticed that they struggled in Yemen and given that the rebels in Yemen have no air support nor the type of sophisticated weapons that Iran has, one has to wonder what would happen in a confrontation.

      Iran does not have strategic airlift nor aerial refueling capabilities so I gather they wouldn’t go and pick a fight, they would just unleash proxies. Knowing that the US is losing interest in the Middle East, they might end up coming up above Saudi and get to the number 3 spot, after Israel and Egypt.

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