This year’s iteration of the Greek multinational exercise saw the participation of Israeli, Italian, French, Hellenic, Slovenian and U.S. assets.
Running between Mar. 28 and Apr. 8, 2022, the annual Hellenic Air Force “Iniochos 22” medium-scale exercise hosted by the Hellenic Air Force at the facilities of the ATC (Air Tactics Center) at Andravida Air Base, Greece, saw the participation of allied aircraft deploying to the Northwest Peloponnese from France, Greece, Italy, Israel, Slovenia and the United States.
Among the aircraft attending Iniochos this year, there were also 11x F-16I Sufa belonging to the 201 and 253 Sqn of the Israeli Air Force’s Sufa Division at Ramon AB; 7x Tornado (4x IDS and 3x ECR variants) from the 6th Stormo, Italian Air Force, based in Ghedi AB; 9x F-15E Strike Eagles belonging to the 492nd and 494th Fighter Squadron of the 48th Fighter Wing from RAF Lakenheath, UK; 2x Slovenian PC-9M from the Air Force Military School at Letalska Sola; a Cypriot AW-139, as well as a number of F-16Cs, F-4Es, 6x Mirage 2000-5BGs belonging to various squadrons of the HAF.
The exercise “includes the full spectrum of missions that sees crews operating in a complex and congested air environment. These include Air operations against an Integrated Air Defence System, Anti-Surface Warfare and Combat Search and Rescue. Participating personnel are exposed to an intensive battle rhythm with challenging scenarios with multiple modern threats and real-time live injects which improve interoperability, while building a stronger and more agile Alliance,” says the NATO Allied Air Command exercise.
Iniochos 22 included Offensive Counter Air Operations (OCA), Air Defence Operations (ADO), Counter Surface Force Operations (CSFO) including Air Power Contribution to Land Ops (APCLO) and Air Power Contribution to Maritime Ops (APCMO), Reconnaissance missions, CSAR (Combat SAR) and High Value Airborne Asset Escort missions. In particular, the drills also aimed at enhancing multi-domain operations in support of land and maritime forces. For this reason, the aircraft trained alongside the ships and aircraft that are operating from the French and the US Navy Carrier Strike Groups currently deployed in the Ionian and the Aegean Sea.
“INIOCHOS 22 brings together hundreds of participants in face to face planning, briefing and debriefing, thus maximizing training benefits and promoting cooperation and exchange of ideas on tactics, between participants with different experience,” said Brig. Gen. Nikoloas Kokkonis, Hellenic Air Tactics Center commander.
Training with allies and regional partners allows for synchronized and prepared responses to regional security threats world-wide contingency operations.
“The exercise exposes the participants to a multiple threat environment such as Anti-Access Area denial, where long range surface based Air Defense Systems, 4th generation RED aircraft and Tactical Ballistics Missiles, form a multi-layer challenge for Allied forces,” Kokkonis added.
Not only were the attending aircraft interesting to the photographers and spotters that gathered at Andravida AB for the exercise: the presence of some interesting visitors, like the new HAF Rafale F3-R fighter jets assigned to the 332 MPK (Mira Pantos Kerou or All Weather Squadron) “Geraki” (Hawk). The aircraft have arrived in Greece at the beginning of the year: the very first batch of 6 Rafales, four single-seat C-models and two double-seat B-models, flew from Istres to Tanagra Air Base on Jan. 19, 2022, after their official handover in July 2021