Tag Archives: Hellenic Air Force

Italian Typhoons and Greek F-16s Take Over NATO Air Policing mission over Montenegro

With the symbolic intercept of a Montenegrin Government aircraft, Italian and Greek fighters have kicked off a new NATO Air Policing mission.

On Jun. 5, the day of the anniversary of Montenegro’s membership in NATO, the Italian and Hellenic Air Force have started protecting the airspace of Montenegro. The new NATO Air Policing mission kicked off with the simulated intercept of a Montenegrin government Learjet 45 (the aircraft registered 4O-MNE) by two Greek F-16s and two Italian Typhoons.

The Montenegrin Minister of Defence Predrag Boškovič, NATO’s representative, Brigadier General Roberto di Marco, Deputy Commander of NATO’s Depoyable Air Command and Control Centre, and the Italian Air Force representative, Major General Silvano Frigerio, watched the fighters flying up to Learjet, signal to the pilots and escort them to a safe landing to the military part of the Podgorica Airport.

An ItAF F-2000A escorts the Montenegrin Learjet 45 during Jun. 5 simulated intercept. Image credit: GOV.ME/S. Matić

The jets conducted a procedure in accordance with NATO’s QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) standard procedure: the Combined Air Operations Centre at Torrejon, Spain, commands the “scramble” (alert take-off) when the unidentified track flies close to or inside NATO Allies’ territories. This often happens when civilian aircraft lose two-way radio contact with civil ATC (Air Traffic Control) agencies or when flights lack the Diplo Clearance (diplomatic clearance) required to enter a nation’s airspace. Italian or Greek fighters will be launched to intercept, identify, escort and/or assist the corresponding aircraft.

Two HAF F-16s close on the LJ45 left wing. Image credit: GOV.ME/S. Matić

The Italian Air Force Typhoons that took part in the simulated intercept were launched from Gioia del Colle airbase, in southeastern Italy, home of the 36° Stormo (Wing) and its two squadrons: the X and XII Gruppo. Italy is the only NATO nation to support five interim Air Policing missions for nations that do not have an autonomous air defense capability: Slovenia, Albania, Iceland, Baltic States and Montenegro.

With four Italian F-2000 Typhoons deployed to Amari, Estonia, as part of the Enhanced Air Policing North Baltic Eagle, from January to April 2018, the Italian Air Force secured the airspaces of six nations [Italy, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Slovenia and Albania (on a rotational basis with effort shared with the Hellenic Air Force)]: a record among NATO allies.

Two Aeronautica Militare Eurofighter Typhoon jets took off from Gioia del Colle in southern Italy to simulate an intercept of a Montenegrin government plane marking the kick off for the NATO Air Policing over Montenegro. Photo: Aeronautica Militare,

Hellenic Air Force F-16s (Including A Brand New Special Color) Visit Aviano Air Base On Their Way To NATO Tiger Meet in Poland

Four Hellenic Air Force Vipers made a fuel stop in Italy on their way to Poznan, Poland.

NATO Tiger Meet is an annual exercise that gathers squadrons sporting Tiger (or feline) emblems. The Exercise’s distinctive feature is that the planes that attend it usually get brand new, flamboyant tiger color schemes.

On May 12, 2018, four HAF F-16s belonging to the 335 Squadron from Araxos, wearing Tiger markings, visited Aviano Air Base, in northeastern Italy, on their way to NATO Tiger Meet 2018 in Poland.

The F-16C Block 52+ “003” about to land on May 12.

The F-16C Block 52+ “007”. Note: the pilot wears a Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing Sight helmet.

In this post you can find the photographs (taken by our contributor Claudio Tramontin) of the four aircraft, three F-16Cs (serialled 003, 007, 017) and one F-16D (023), about to land on runway 05 at Aviano: whilst the single seaters featured a quite simple tiger stripe on the upper side of the tail, the two-seater sported a special tiger livery that covered the CFTs (Conformal Fuel Tanks) as well as the external fuel tanks with the text Akir 1941 – Araxos 2018. In fact, the 335 Sqn is the oldest HAF squadron: it was established at Akir (RAF Aqir, Palestine, currently Tel Nof airbase, Israel), in 1941.

More specials will attend NTM2018 that we will cover in the next couple of weeks.

The F-16C “017” this pilot also wears a JHMCS helmet. All images: Claudio Tramontin.



Greek Mirage 2000-5 Crashes Over Aegean Sea; IL-76 Transport Down in Algeria.

Both Accidents in Different Regions on Thursday Resulted in Fatalities.

Two significant military aviation accidents occurred on Thursday, April 12, 2018. One in the Aegean Sea near the Greek Isles, the other one, in Algeria, Africa.

A Hellenic (Greek) Air Force Mirage 2000-5 aircraft crashed near the Greek Isle of Skyros in the Aegean Sea on Thursday. The aircraft was returning from an intercept mission on Turkish Air Force F-16s. In spite the initial reports, the crash of the Mirage 2000-5 was unrelated to the earlier “engagement” with the Turkish aircraft and occurred after the aircraft were in proximity of each other.

The Greek news outlet Ekathimerini reported that “The Mirage 2000-5 jet fell some nine miles northeast of the island [Skyros] which is part of the Sporades group near the central Aegean,” according to a statement issued by the Hellenic Air Force. “According to Greek defense sources, the Mirage had been one of two Greek jets on a mission to intercept Turkish jets in the Aegean earlier in the day.” The news outlet went on to report that the same sources said they did not believe any hostile activity was involved in the accident. The crash is reported to have occurred sometime around noon local time on Thursday.

A Turkish language publication, Milliyet.com.tr, named the pilot of the Greek Mirage 2000-5 as 34-year-old pilot was named Captain Giorgos Baltadoros of the 331 Air Force Squadron from Tanagra. Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos wrote on Twitter that Capt. Baltadoros was, “A hero who fell in the fight to defend our national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

the official photo of Captain Giorgios Baltadoros, assigned to 331 Squadron.

The Mirage 2000-5 is a successful French designed multi-role supersonic delta wing combat aircraft built by the Dassault company in France. The Hellenic Air Force ordered 15 of this, latest version of the Mirage aircraft in August of 2000. The Greeks already operated a force of 40 earlier model Dassault Mirage 2000 aircraft. The Dassault Mirage is a common combat aircraft throughout the Mediterranean, Africa and Middle East and boasts a proven combat record.

The Mirage 2000-5 pilot was identified as 34-year old Captain Giorgios Baltadoros from Tanagra, Greece. (Photo: EPT1 Greek News)

In a separate, unrelated crash on Thursday a Russian-built, Algerian Air Force Ilyushin Il-76 heavy transport crashed after takeoff from Boufarik military airport, west of Algiers, Algeria. The aircraft was en route to Bechar and Tindouf in the south-west of Algeria according to a report filed by the BBC World News.

News outlets throughout Africa, Asia and Europe are reporting up to 257 fatalities from the crash. This is the largest number of people to perish in an aviation accident since the July 2014 crash of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 when it was shot down over eastern Ukraine. All 298 people on board flight MH17 died in the 2014 crash.

Some persons on board the Algerian Air Force IL-76 were taken to hospital after rescue operations began according to Algerian authorities as reported by the BBC. No other reliable information has been seen about possible survivors.

Based on photos and video from the crash scene, the aircraft appeared to have gone down during daylight hours. The BBC reported that, “A military aviation observer told the BBC that, based on how intact portions of the plane were, they believed the pilot had tried to crash-land.” There has been no confirmation of that report from Algerian sources.

The Ilyushin Il-76 is a large, four jet engine heavy transport aircraft built in Russia. It is roughly similar in basic configuration to the U.S. built C-17 Globemaster III. The aircraft is valued for its heavy payload capability and the ability to land and take-off from unimproved runways making it well suited for operations on the African continent. The Algerian Air Force is reported to operate a total of 17 of the heavy jet transports. The Ilyushin IL-76 (NATO reporting name “Candid”) is widely used by military and commercial air transport services around the world and has an excellent safety record for such a prolific aircraft. The IL-76 first flew in March 1971.

Top image: An Algerian IL-76 (left) and Greek Mirage 2000-5 both crashed on Thursday. (Photo: via Wikipedia)

Combat Aircraft from Israel, UAE, Greece, Italy, UK and U.S. Take Part in Ex. “INIOCHOS 2018”

From Greece with love.

Exercise “INIOCHOS” is a yearly medium-scale exercise hosted by the Hellenic Air Force at the facilities of the Air Tactics Center at Andravida Air Base, located in the Northwest Peloponnese, Greece.

The “layout” of the exercise is quite standard: two weeks in length (including deployment and re-deployment of the assets), the exercise scenario adopts a Single Base Concept with air operation launched from an MOB (Main Operating Base). It’s a so-called Invitex, meaning that the drills is organized and run by the HAF but also attended by invited nations aircraft as well. In order to make the training realistic, the participating units “are exposed to an intensive battle rhythm with realistic attrition rates and challenging scenarios that include multiple modern threats and real time live injects tailored to produce the fog of war and the friction effect (per Clausewitz) which is expected to dominate the modern battlefield and test both the physical and psychological endurance of the modern fighter.”

Israeli Air Force F-16C taking off during Iniochos 2018 media day.

The HFWS (Hellenic Fighter Weapons School) oversees the missions from scenario planning to debriefing and makes certain that they cover the full spectrum of missions currently performed by the HAF and allied nations, including

– Air operations versus Integrated Air Defense System (IADS)
– Offensive Counter Air / Airfield Attack
– Air Interdiction / Special Targets (bridges, power stations, vehicles, etc.).
– Anti Surface Warfare
– Slow Mover Protection (SLOMO)
– Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR).
– Dynamic Targeting (DT) / Strike Coordination and Reconnaissance (SCAR) / Close Air Support (CAS) / Time Sensitive Targets (TST).
– High Value Airborne Asset (HVAA) Protect/Attack

One of the Italian Air Force Tornado IDS from Ghedi.

This year’s edition of “Iniochos” was attended by a wide variety of combat aircraft from 6 nations (including Greece). Among them, 6x Mirage 2000-9EAD/DAD belonging to the 71 Sqn  of the UAE AF from Al Dhafra; 4x F-16C “Barak” with 117 Sqn Israeli AF from Ramat David; 5x Tornado from the 6th Stormo, Italian Air Force, based in Ghedi; 4x Typhoon FGR4 from 3 Sqn from RAF Coningsby; 13x F-15E Strike Eagle from 492FS from RAF Lakenheath as well as some +30x F-16, 4x F-4E, 4x Mirage 2000 and 1x EMB-145H AEW&C belonging to various squadrons of the HAF.

HAF Mirage 2000 during taking off at dusk.

In this post you can find some photographs taken at Andravida by The Aviationist’s contributors Claudio Tramontin and Simone Marcato.

RAF Typhoon FGR4

UAE AF Mirage 2000-9

Close-up view of a U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle.

One of the four F-4E Phantom belonging to 338 Mira.

HA F-16D

Image credit: Claudio Tramontin, Simone Marcato

Watch Hellenic Air Force F-4 Phantom Jets Perform A Low Apex Attack

Two cool clips show Greek Phantoms performing a head-on low apex attack during an airshow.

These clips were filmed in 2016, during Flisvos Marina Air Show.

They show two F-4E AUP Phantoms, belonging to the 338 Squadron of the Hellenic Air Force, from Andravida air base, performing a Low Apex Attack. It’s a kind of visual pop-up attack with the aircraft approaching the target at very low-level (below 500 ft) and high-speed (480 Kts). At the PUP (Pull Up Point) the aircraft starts to climb. At the Pull Down Point, the aircraft starts to roll so that the Apex is below 5,000 feet and turns to assume the final attack heading, diving towards the target. At the release point, the jet drops the bombs and breaks, performing an evasion maneuver pulling 5-6Gs to reduce exposure to the ground threats. Jinking is usually performed to prevent the flight path from being predictable.

As you can see, the F-4s release plenty of flares while approaching the simulated target, to face possible IR-guided surface-to-air missiles.

Top image: screenshot from YT