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. That’s very good thinking. It’s nice to see some cooperation on this one because Israel won’t be getting it from the United States.

  2. So what is standard operating procedure for evading a SAM? (i.e. what is one supposed to do when a s-300 locks onto your plane and fires?)

  3. I count at least a dozen bumps on the current F-16’s that were not there when they were first released. I wonder how the new versions with all the conformal pods on them would do in a dogfight with one of the older clean airframe models?

    • I don’t think they took that into account, range is what they need to go after Iran.

    • older models like blk-15s outsmart blk-50+ in close combat, however lesser is their combat radius

  4. Well we still don’t know which version will go to Iran so if they practice odn the S-300PMU-1 and iran gets the S-300VM it will be like practicing on a home cat and then going against a jungle cat :)

    • Forget Jungle cat it will be a Pack of Lions…

      Would be wiser to wait for the F-35.

  5. Whenever I see one of those F-16Is with the conformal fuel tanks and the enlarged spine I can’t help but think that they’re trying to turn a fragile fighter into a kind of F-105 “Thud” Thunderchief.

    • When I see the “I” and the like, I’m reminded of the Mig-21 BIS.

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