- Hellenic Air Force
Infobox Military Unit
unit_name= Hellenic Air Force
caption= Hellenic Air Force Emblem
start_date= 1930 as a separate service, [ [http://www.haf.gr/en/history/history/history_5.asp Hellenic Air Force/History] ]
Army Aviation established in 1911
role= National Defense and Air Superiority
size= 33,000 personnel
command_structure= Hellenic Ministry of National Defense
motto= "Αίεν Υψικρατείν"
"Always Dominate the Heights"
colors= Blue / White
Balkan Wars, World War I, Asia Minor War, World War II, Greek Civil War, Korean War, Turkish invasion of Cyprus
Air Marshal Ioannis Yagos
current_commander_label= Chief of Air Force General Staff
identification_symbol_label= HAF Roundel
identification_symbol_2_label= HAF Fin Flash
Mirage 2000, Mirage 2000-5 Mk2, F-4E Phantom II
aircraft_bomber= A-7 Corsair II
F-16 Fighting Falcon
Mirage 2000, Mirage 2000-5 Mk2
EMB-145SA, RF-4E, Pegasus II
aircraft_patrol= P-3B Orion
aircraft_trainer= T-41, T-6 Texan II, T-2
aircraft_transport= C-27J, C-130, C-47, ERJ-135,
Gulfstream V, Bell 212
The Hellenic Air Force (HAF) (in _el. Πολεμική Αεροπορία (ΠΑ), "Polemikí Aeroporía", literally "Military Aviation") is the
air forceof Greece. The mission of the Hellenic Air Force is to guard and protect Greek airspace, provide air assistance and support to the Hellenic Armyand the Hellenic Navy, as well as the provision of humanitarian aid in Greece and around the world.
During the period of monarchy (1935-1973) the force was known as the Royal Hellenic Air Force (Ελληνική Βασιλική Αεροπορία (EBA), "Ellinikí Vasilikí Aeroporía").
The motto of the Hellenic Air Force is "Αίεν Υψικρατείν" (Aien Ypsikratein), "Always Dominate the Heights", and the HAF ensign represents a flying eagle in front of the Hellenic Air Force roundel. The Hellenic Air Force is one of the three branches of the Hellenic Armed Forces.
The Hellenic Air Force was founded in 1911 and has more than 90 years of history. The first efforts to introduce aviation in Greece clearly belong to Prime Minister
Eleftherios Venizelos, whose contribution was widely recognized in 2000, when the Greek Government gave his name to the Athens International Airport.
Foundation and the Balkan Wars
In 1911 the Greek Government appointed French specialists to form the Hellenic Aviation Service. Six Greek officers were sent to
Francefor training, while the first four "Farman" type aircraft were ordered. The first Greek aviator was Emmanouil Argyropoulos, who flew in a NieuportIV.G. "Alcuin" aircraft, on February 8 1912.
The first military flight was made on
May 13 1912by Lieutenant Dimitrios Kamberos. In June, Kamberos flew with the "Daedalus", a Farman Aviation Worksaircraft that had been converted into a seaplane, setting a new world average speed recordat 110 km/h and the foundations of Naval Aviation. During September of the same year, the Greek Armyfielded its first squadron, the "Aviators Company" ("Λόχος Αεροπόρων"). On October 5 1912, Kamberos flew the first combat mission, a reconnaissanceflight over Thessaly. January 24 1913saw the first naval co-operation war mission worldwide, which took place above the Dardanelles. Aided by the destroyer "Velos", first LieutenantMichael Moutoussis and
Aristidis Moraitinisflew the Maurice Farmanhydroplane and drew up a diagram of the positionsof the Turkish fleet, against which they dropped four bombs.
Balkan Wars and aftermath
Initially the Hellenic Army and the Royal Hellenic Navy operated separate Army Aviation and Naval Aviation units. These units participated in the
Balkan Wars, World War Iand the Asia Minor Campaign.
In 1930 the Aviation Ministry was founded, establishing the Air Force as the third branch of the Armed Forces. In 1931 the
Hellenic Air Force Academy, the "Scholi Ikaron" (Σχολή Ικάρων), was founded.
In 1939 an order for 24 Marcel Bloch MB.151 fighter aircraft was placed, but only 9 of the aircraft reached Greece, since the outbreak of World War II prevented the French from completing the order. The aircraft served in the 24th Pursuit Squadron (MD - "Moira Dioxis") of the then Hellenic Royal Air Force.
World War II and Civil War
Second World War, the RHAF successfully resisted the Italian invasion in 1940, but practically the entire force was destroyed by the German " Luftwaffe" in April 1941. The Air Force was rebuilt in the Middle East as part of the British Royal Air Force, flying Spitfires, Hurricanes and Martin Baltimores (335th, 336th and 13th Squadrons).
After Greece's liberation in 1944, it returned home and subsequently played a decisive role in the
Greek Civil War, which lasted until 1949.
The Royal Hellenic Air Force participated in the
Korean Warwith a transport flight.
In 1952 Greece was admitted to NATO and the Air Force was rebuilt and organized according to
NATOstandards, with US assistance. New aircraft, including jets, were introduced.
F-84Ffirst flew with the Hellenic Air Force in 1950. The Thunderstreak was developed to overcome the limitations of the Thunderjet's straight flying surfaces. The RF-84F was the reconnaissance version of the F-84 F Thunderstreak. This aircraft remained operational with the 348 Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron of the Hellenic Air Force from 1956 to March 29 1991.
In the late 1960s the RHAF acquired new jet aircraft, that served well for almost 20 years. The main jets that entered the HAF fleet during this period were the F-104G "Starfighter" and later on, the Convair F-102 "Delta Dagger" (in service 1969-1975) and the F-5 "Freedom Fighter".
In the mid 1970s the RHAF was further modernized with deliveries of the
Dassault Mirage F1CG fleet and the first batch of F-4E "Phantom", upgraded versions of which still serve today.
Until the late 1980s the Air Force deployed Nike-Hercules Missiles armed with U.S. nuclear warheads. As a result of Greco-Turkish tensions around the 1974 Turkish invasion in
Cyprus, the U.S. removed its nuclear weapons from Greek and Turkish alert units to storage. Greece saw this as another pro-Turkish move by NATO and withdrew its forces from NATO’s military command structure from 1974 to 1980.
In 1988 the first fourth [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fighter_Aircraft] generation fighters were introduced, marking the beginning of a new era: the first Mirage 2000 EG/BG aircraft were delivered to the 114 Combat Wing and equipped the 331 and 332 squadrons. In January 1989, the first F-16C/D Block 30 arrived in Nea Anchialos (111 Combat Wing) and were allocated between the 330 and 346 squadrons.
March 29 1991the RF-84F were retired from service after 34 years and 7 months of operational life. In November 1992 more RF-4E were delivered to the 348 Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron.
In 1997 the reception of fourth generation aircraft continued. In July, delivery of forty F-16 Block 50 began. The new aircraft, equipped with the
LANTIRNnavigation and targeting pod as well as AMRAAMand HARM missiles, were allocated to the 341 and 347 squadrons.
Entering the 21st century
Greece participated in NATO "
nuclear weapons sharing" until 2001, using A-7 Corsair IIs to deploy tactical B61 nuclear warheads from Araxos Air Base. Greece then strategically decided to remove all nuclear weapons under storage in Greece and did not purchase any more aircraft with nuclear mounting capabilities.
In September 2004 started the Mirage 2000BG/EG fleet upgrade to the standard 2000-5 Mk2 and the project was undertaken by the French manufacturer
Dassaultand the Hellenic Aerospace Industry(EAB). Fifteen aircraft were ordered, while ten more were undertaken for upgrade by Dassaultand EAB. The enhancements include upgraded radar and avionics, air-refueling capabilities, new self-defense system and upgraded engine, while the cockpit has taken some serious reforms.
In 2005, Greece was among the first countries to add the F-16 Block 52+ to its inventory. Ninety of these 4.5th generation aircraft were ordered and delivery begun the same year. This advanced F-16 type is an improved version of the Block 50 featuring a more powerful radar, better communications systems and an upgraded engine. The Hellenic Air Force's Block 52+ belong to the 337, 340 and 343 Squadrons with call signs "Ghost", "Fox" and "Star" respectively. 337 SQ is based at Larissa Air Force Base (110 Combat Wing) and the other two in Souda AB (115 CW).
As of 2008, the Hellenic Air Force has a combat fleet of 358 modern or upgraded aircraft. Due to the retirement of units that have ended their operational life (A-7E Corsair II), the HAF should be looking forward to acquiring new 4th, 4.5th or 5th generation fighters in order to reach a total number of 300 advanced fighters, according to the "2007 Supreme Air Force Council Momentum"clarifyme which was published in 2007. This goal cannot be reached in the foreseeable future due to the slow down of the performance of the Greek economy for the years 2007-2008.
Possible candidates for a 4.5th or 5th generation aircraft are the
Eurofighter Typhoonand Dassault Rafale, with JAS 39 Gripenas an outsider. Greece so far has not shown interest in F-35 Lightning II(JSF). A pro-Russian lobby in Greece promotes the acquisition of Sukhoi Su-35or Su-37Magazine ΣΤΡΑΤΗΓΙΚΗ (Stratigiki, the Greek word for strategy), volume 185, March 2008, page 40] .
The Hellenic Air Force is overseen by the Hellenic Ministry of National Defence, whose current head is minister
Vangelis Meimarakis. More specifically, HAF is directly overseen by the Hellenic National Defence General Staff.
The Hellenic Air Force includes approximately 33,000 active troops, of whom 11,750 are career officers, 14,000 are professional conscripts (ΕΠ.ΟΠ.), 7,250 are volunteer conscripts and 1,100 are women. The three commands are the Tactical Air Command (Αρχηγείο Τακτικής Αεροπορίας, ATA), headquartered at
Larisa, the Air Support Command (Διοίκηση Αεροπορικής Υποστήριξης, ΔΑΥ) and the Air Training Command (Διοίκηση Αεροπορικής Εκπαίδευσης, ΔΑΕ), both based in Athens.
The Tactical Air Command includes eight Combat Wings and one Transport Wing. The Combat Wings have six fighter ground-attack squadrons. There are ten fighter squadrons, one regular reconnaissance squadron, and one marine reconnaissance squadron. Three transport squadrons and two helicopter squadrons form the organization of the air portion of the Tactical Air Command. The Air Training Command includes four training squadrons.
The eight major H.A.F. installations are located in
Larisa, Nea Anchialos (west of Volos), Elefsis, west of Athens, Thessaloniki, Tanagra, north of Athens, Souda Bay, Araxosin the northern Peloponnese, and Andravida. Other airports supporting military operations are located in the Aegean Islands of Karpathos, Santorini(Thira), Rhodes, Skyros, and Lemnosas well as in Kavala, Heraklion, and Tatoi/Dekeleia, north of Athens.
*Combat operations are overseen by the Chief of Operations of the Supreme Air Force Council.
*Support services are managed by the Directorate of Aeronautical Support of the Air Force Support Command.
*The training squadrons and air force schools, like the "Icarus Air Force Academy" and the "School of Advanced War Training", run by the Training Directorate of the Air Force Training Command.
*Minister of National Defence ( [http://www.mod.gr Website] ) : Evangelos Meimarakis
**Chief of Air Force General Staff : Air Marshal Ioannis Yagos (Pilot)
***Chief of Tactical Air Force Command (HTAFC) : Air Marshal Theologos Simeonidis (Pilot)
****Commander of Combined Air Operation Center 7 (CAOC7) : Air Marshal Theologos Simeonidis (Pilot)
***Chief of Air Force Support Command (HAFSC) : Air Vice Marshal Kosmas Vouris (Pilot)
***Chief of Air Force Training Command (HATC) : Air Vice Marshal Nikolaos Goutzouris (Pilot)
Officer Ranks and Insignia
Order of Battle
Combat Wings (ΑΤΑ)
*110th Combat Wing ("110 Πτέρυγα Μάχης"),
**337th Fighter Squadron "
Ghost" ("337 Μοίρα "Φάντασμα") - Flies the F-16 Fighting Falcon- C/D Block 52+
**346th Fighter Squadron "
Jason" ("346 Μοίρα "Ιάσων") - Flies the F-16 Fighting Falcon - C/D Block 30
**348th Fighter Squadron "
Eyes" ("348 Μοίρα "Μάτια") - Flies the "' F-4 Phantom II- RF-4E Phantom II "'
*111th Combat Wing ("111 Πτέρυγα Μάχης"), Nea Anchialos AB
**330th Fighter Squadron "
Thunder" ("330 Μοίρα "Κεραυνός") - Flies the F-16 Fighting Falcon - C/D Block 30
**341st Fighter Squadron "
Ace" ("341 Μοίρα "Άσσος") - Flies the F-16 Fighting Falcon - C/D Block 50
**347th Fighter Squadron "
Perseus" ("347 Μοίρα "Περσεύς") - Flies the F-16 Fighting Falcon - C/D Block 50
*114th Combat Wing ("114 Πτέρυγα Μάχης"),
**331st Fighter Squadron "
Aegeus" ("331 Μοίρα "Αιγέας") - Flies the Mirage 2000- 2000-5 Mk2
**332nd Fighter Squadron "
Falcon" ("332 Μοίρα "Γεράκι") - Flies the Mirage 2000 - BG/EG
*115th Combat Wing ("115 Πτέρυγα Μάχης"),
Souda Bay, Crete.
**340th Fighter Squadron "
Fox" ("340 Μοίρα "Αλεπού") - Flies the F-16 Fighting Falcon - C/D Block 52+
**343rd Fighter Squadron "
Star" ("343 Μοίρα "Αστέρι") - Flies the F-16 Fighting Falcon - C/D Block 52+
*116th Combat Wing ("116 Πτέρυγα Μάχης"), based in
AraxosAB, prefecture of Achaia
**335 Bomber Squadron "
Tiger" ("335 Μοίρα Βομβαρδισμού "Τίγρhς") - Flies the A-7 Corsair - TA-7C Corsair II
**336 Bomber Squadron "
Olympus" ("336 Μοίρα Βομβαρδισμου "Όλυμπος") - Flies the A-7 Corsair - TA-7C Corsair II
*117th Combat Wing ("117 Πτέρυγα Μάχης"), based in
AndravidaAB, prefecture of Ilia
**338 Interception Squadron "
Ares" ("338 Μοίρα Αναχαίτiσης "Άρης") - Flies the F-4 PI2000 - F-4E Phantom II
**339 Interception Squadron "Ajax" ("338 Μοίρα Αναχαίτισης "Αίας") - Flies the F-4 PI2000 - F-4E Phantom II
*380 AEW Squadron, based at Elefsis AB, LGEL, (coord|38|03|33|N|023|33|50|E) - Embraer EMB-145H, not yet operational
Air Support Wings (ΔΑΥ)
*112th Combat Wing ("112 Πτέρυγα Μάχης"),
ElefsisAB. LGEL coord|38|04|02|N|23|33|04|E
**353 Maritime Reconnaissance Squadron, P-3B Orion
**354 Transport Squadron "Pegasus", C-27J Spartan
**355 Transport Squadron "Hephestus", Canadair CL-215, Dornier Do-28
**356 Transport Squadron "Hercules", C-130B, C-130H, YS-11A
**358 SAR Squadron "Phaethon", AB-205 helicopters
**384 SAR Squadron "Puma", Super Puma helicopters
*113th Combat Wing ("113 Πτέρυγα Μάχης"),
**383 Special Aerial Fire Fighting Squadron, Canadair/Bombardier CL-415
* 124 Basic Training Wing ("124 Πτέρυγα Βασικής Εκπαίδευσης"), located in Tripoli,
**1st Cadets Training Squadron ("1η Mοίρα Εκπαίδευσης Νεοσυλλέκτων")
**2nd Cadets Training Squadron ("2η Mοίρα Εκπαίδευσης Νεοσυλλέκτων")
**3rd Cadets Training Squadron ("3η Mοίρα Εκπαίδευσης Νεοσυλλέκτων")
**Local Defense Training Squadron ("Mοίρα Εκπαίδευσης Τοπικής Άμυνας")
*120 Air Training Wing ("120 Πτέρυγα Εκπαίδευσης Αέρος"), located in
**361 Air Training Squadron ("361 Μοίρα Εκπαίδευσης Αέρος")
**362 Air Training Squadron ("362 Μοίρα Εκπαίδευσης Αέρος")
**363 Air Training Squadron ("363 Μοίρα Εκπαίδευσης Αέρος")
**364 Air Training Squadron ("364 Μοίρα Εκπαίδευσης Αέρος")
**Sea Survival Training School / S.S.T.S. ("Σχολείο Εκπαίδευσης Θαλάσσιας Επιβίωσης" / "Σ.Ε.Ε.Θ.")
*123 Technical Training Wing ("123 Πτέρυγα Τεχνικής Εκπαίδευσης"), located in
Decelea(Dekelia) Air Base.
**Air Defense Staff Training Center ("Κέντρο Εκπαίδευσης Προσωπικού Αεράμυνας" / "Κ.Ε.Π.Α.")
**128 Squadron of Communications Training and Avionics ("128 Σμηναρχία Εκπαίδευσης Τηλεπικοινωνιών και Ηλεκτρονικών" / "Σ.Ε.Τ.Η."), located in Kavouri,
Greece, as of 2008, has 358 combat aircraft (T-6 NTAs and T-2s included because of combat capabilities). It is allowed to have up to 650 according to the CFE agreements. [http://www.ellinikos-stratos.com/aeroporia/aeroplana_1.asp Μαχητικά και βομβαρδιστικά αεροσκάφη ] ] All aircraft numbers bellow are as of May 2008. [ [http://www.milaviapress.com/orbat/greece/index.php Greek military aviation OrBat] ]
Retired & Historical Aircraft
Henschel Hs 126
* Douglas C-47 Skytrain
* Grumman HU-16 Albatros
* Curtiss SB2C Helldiver
* Cessna T-37
* Dassault Mirage F1CG
* Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star
* North American F-86 Sabre
* Republic F-84 Thunderjet
* Republic F-84F Thunderstreak
* Convair F-102 Delta Dagger
* Lockheed F-104 Starfighter
* Northrop F-5 Freedom Fighter
AIM-120C-5 AMRAAM: 150
AIM-120B AMRAAM: 240 [ [http://www.amynanet.gr/isoropia/14.htm ΑΜΥΝΑ & ΔΙΠΛΩΜΑΤΙΑ 14. Όπλα & συστήματα μαχητικών αεροσκαφών ] ]
AIM-9 Sidewinder-M: 165
AIM-9 Sidewinder-L/I1: 300
AIM-9 Sidewinder-L/I: 400
AIM-9 Sidewinder-P4 (upgraded P3 and J-Sidewinder) : 1,000
MBDA MICA: 300
R550 Magic-2 : 303
ExocetAM-39 Block 2 : 39
SCALP EG: 90
* AFDS: 70
AGM-65G2 : 200
AGM-65A/B : 200+ (?)
AGM-88 HARMB Block IIIA: 84
AGM-154C JSOW: 40 on order
* GBU-8B HOBOS: 96
GBU-12& GBU-16Paveway II: 1,162
GBU-24Paveway III :200
Navigation & Targeting Pods
LANTIRN-AWNP (F-16 Block 50D & 52+): 24
LANTIRN-TP (F-16 Block 50D & 52+): 24
*F-4E UAP Targeting Pods: 15
*A-7E Night Navigation Pods: ?
* Patriot PAC III AA missile system: 6 Batterries / 36 launchers / 198 missiles
* S-300 PMU1 AA missile system: 2 Batteries / 8 launchers / 96 missiles
* [http://www.haf.gr/en/mission/weapons/velos.asp SKYGUARD/VELOS] AA system: 20 launchers / 280 missiles / 24 Oerlikon-35 Guns
* Crotale NG/GR AA missile system: 9 launchers
* TOR M1 AA missile system: 4 launchers
* Stinger portable AA missile: unknown number of launchers / 300 missiles
Artemis 3030 mm AA guns: 38
* Rheinmetall 202 Mk20 : 326
Greece operated 40
Dassault Mirage F1CG aircraft.Info from Wikipedia article on Dassault Mirage F1] F1CG was first ordered in 1974 and entered service in 1975 [http://www.mirage4fs.com/slides6.html Mirage Aircraft for Flight Simulator ] ] The aircraft were used by the 342 Mira (Squadron) branch of the Greek air force. [http://www.abpic.co.uk/photo/1003072/ Dassault Mirage F1CG, 140, Greek Air Force ] ] . Mirage F1CG was armed with the Sidewinder AIM-9P missile, rather than the most commonly used Matra Magic II, and it could carry 4 AIM-9Ps, rather than just 2. F1CGs were decommissioned from the Greek air force on 30 June 2003after 28 years of service and 160 000 flying hours. At least two F1CG have been preserved for display, one in Tanagra(LGTG), Greeceas of 2007 [http://www.airliners.net/photo/Greece---Air/Greece---Air/1317497&photo_nr=28&prev_id=1317631&next_id=1317380&size=L Photos: Dassault Mirage F1CG Aircraft Pictures | Airliners.net ] ] , and another one (registration 140) as of 2005 [http://www.pbase.com/eliashan/image/49519752 Greece Mirage F1CG photo - Elias Hantzakos photos at pbase.com ] ] . A third one (134) is preserved at HAF History Department, Delta Falirou.
The camo extensively used by the Hellenic Air Force is the "Aegean Ghost" theme ("Φάντασμα του Αιγαίου").
Hellenic Air Force Academy
Hellenic Aerospace Industry
List of F-104 Starfighter operators
*"World Military Aircraft Inventory", Aerospace Source Book 2007, Aviation Week & Space Technology,
15 January 2007"
*"The Library of Congress Country Studies, CIA World Factbook"
*cite book |title=Hellenic Defence Review 2008-2009 |publisher= [http://www.hellenicdefense.gr Line Defence Public Ltd] |location=Athens |author=E.A.Pagotsis |year=2008|pages=128-159
* [http://www.ellinikos-stratos.com/aeroporia/aeroplana_1.asp Aircraft inventory (Greek)]
* [http://www.haf.gr Hellenic Air Force official website]
* [http://hafcphotos.cs.net/ Hellenic Air Force Photo Album (unofficial)]
* [http://koti.welho.com/msolanak/ Hellenic Wings (unofficial)]
title = Air Forces in Europe
suffix = _Air_Force
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