Greece The Hellenic Air Force
Sources: The Library of Congress Country Studies; CIA World Factbook
The Hellenic Air Force lists several critical objectives in fulfilling its mission. Development of a modern command, control, and information system will aid in crisis management by linking the air force with other branches and commands in allied countries in a timely manner. An upgraded early warning system is considered another high-priority element of communications, to provide time for decision making. A second requirement is the capability for immediate reaction to unforeseen threats; to achieve that goal, the air force is emphasizing interoperability and compatibility of armaments and suppression of enemy air defenses.
A third goal is improving mobility, especially considering the requirement for Greece's assigned participation in the ACE Rapid Reaction Corps in the NATO force structure of the 1990s (see Greece in NATO , this ch.). An important element of this requirement is improved air transport capability. A fourth goal is improving support of ground-force operations by using air transport to preposition ammunition and supplies. Finally, the development of air defense is considered critical to maintaining control of the air in the cramped airspace of the eastern Mediterranean Sea. In its combat doctrine, the Hellenic Air Force aims not at permanently establishing air superiority (a prohibitively expensive goal) but at being able to control air space at specific times and places.
Greek military experts believe that between 1987 and 1994 the air force achieved satisfactory turn-around time for service and repair of aircraft, elements that are complex given the diversity of fighter types in the present NATO inventory. All major airfields in the country now can provide quick repair of battle damage. Most training in aircraft repair work is carried out abroad. Flight and ground safety were improved in 1992 by the reorganization of the Hellenic Air Force General Staff to include a Flight Safety Directorate.
The air force modernization program has aimed at reducing the number of aircraft in operation and increasing flexibility and tactical reconnaissance capability. Specifically, this policy has meant the procurement of F-4E and A-7E aircraft from the United States and NF-5A/B and RF-4E aircraft from the Netherlands and Germany, respectively, and phasing out outdated F/RF-1046 and F5A /B aircraft. Two squadrons of F-16 jets with modern weapon systems have been added to upgrade defensive capacity, and the addition of C-130 and medium transport aircraft improved deployment and support capability in the early 1990s (see table 15, Appendix).
The Hellenic Air Force includes 26,800 troops, of whom 14,400 are conscripts and 1,100 are women. The three commands are the Tactical Air Command, headquartered at Larisa, and the Air Support Command and the Air Training Command, 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 air force installations are located at Larisa, Nea Ankhialos southeast of Larisa, Eleusina west of Athens, Thessaloniki, Tanagra north of Athens, Souda Bay, Araxos in the northern Peloponnesus, and Andravida. Other airports supporting military operations are located on the Aegean Islands of Karpathos, Santorini (Thira), Rhodes, Skiros, and Lemnos, and at Kavala (Macedonia), Heraklion (Crete), and Tatoi/Dekelia, north of Athens.
Data as of December 1994
NOTE: The information regarding Greece on this page is re-published from The Library of Congress Country Studies and the CIA World Factbook. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Greece The Hellenic Air Force information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Greece The Hellenic Air Force should be addressed to the Library of Congress and the CIA.