Exercise Iniochos 2018
On March 12 to 23, the Hellenic Air Force hosted a medium-sized multinational exercise named Iniochos at the base of 117 Combat Wing in Andravida, home of the Greek Phantoms.
In this exercise the HAF along with other six participating Air Forces took advantage of some of the most suitable and at the same time most challenging airspaces in Europe for conducting these large scale air operations, with a wide variety of air defence systems and a remarkable mix of modern aircraft and ordnance combined with considerably experienced crews.
The Iniochos exercise dates back in the late 80s, when it was established as a small scale air warfare exercise with aircraft only of the HAF. Initially the participating aircraft were being deployed to 110 CW in Larisa, but in later years each aircraft were operating from its home base.
In 2005, Iniochos was transformed into a medium scale exercise, involving all three branches of the Hellenic Armed Forces. In November 2013, the Single Base Concept was adopted for Iniochos and the selected host base for this kind of event was the 117 CW at Andravida. It was also decided that Iniochos would become an Invitex exercise, meaning that other nations could be invited to participate in the exercise.
The duration of this exercise is 10 – 15 calendar days and operations make use of the majority of the Hellenic FIR. The Exercise scenario adopts a Single Base Concept (execution of operations from a single Air Base), requiring the participation of all branches of the Armed Forces. The exercise’s objective is to provide realistic training, which is achieved by creating a realistic battle environment. Participating personnel are exposed to an intensive battle rhythm with realistic attrition rates and challenging scenarios that include multiple modern threats which is expected to dominate in the modern battlefield and test both the physical and psychological endurance of the modern fighter.
In order to achieve the objective of the exercise, 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 such as:
– Air operations versus Integrated Air Defence 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
This year’s edition of Iniochos was attended by a wide variety of combat aircraft from 7 nations (including Greece).
United Arab Emirates :
– 6 Mirage 2000-9EAD/DAD belonging to the 71 Sq of the UAE AF from Al Dhafra along with 100 people personnel.
Israeli Air Force:
– 4 F-16C “Barak 2020” of the 117th Sq “First Jet” of the Israeli AF from Ramat David
Italian Air Force:
– 6 Tornado IDS from the 102nd and the 154th Squadrons of the 6th Combat Wing (Stormo) of the Italian Air Force, based in Ghedi along with 90 people personnel.
Royal Air Force:
– 6 Typhoon FGR4 from the 3rd Sq from RAF Coningsby along with 140 people personnel.
United States Air Force:
– 13 F-15E Strike Eagle from 492FS of the 48nd FW from RAF Lakenheath along with 300 people personnel!
Hellenic Air Force:
– The HAF utilized more than 30 F-16, 4 F-4E, 4 Mirage 2000 and 1 EMB-145H AEW&C belonging to various squadrons, while Cyprus was the last participant with the utilization of a single AW-139 helicopter. Also an E-3A AWACS from the NATO AEW&C was deployed to Aktion AB and was orbiting over the exercise areas contributing in this role.
The unique feature of the Iniochos exercise is that during its duration the invited Air Arms cooperate with aerial, surface and sea assets of the Hellenic Army and the Hellenic Navy which at the same time are combining their own exercises “Ormi” and “Astrapi” and utilizing many other assets like ships, helicopters, tanks etc.
The main goal of the exercise Iniochos is to simulate a real battle scenario, which includes the design, operation, collection of data from the battle assessment and the debriefing for each mission. The Iniochos aspires to become the most competitive exercise in Europe and the Mediterranean region, and provide participants with a high level of training as in the major world exercises, such as the American Red Flag.
Text & Photography: George Karavantos