ATHENS, Greece – Greece has been a member of NATO for more than 68 years and the Hellenic Air Force has since contributed to NATO Air Policing over Greece; for more than a decade, the Hellenic Air Force has also safeguarded the airspace over Albania and Montenegro, and will soon start to patrol North Macedonian skies under NATO arrangements.
Through all these years, the Hellenic Air Force has operated fighter aircraft from all the Combat Wings; initially the F-5A/B, F-104G, Mirage F1 and F-4E fighters and, presently, the F-16 and M-2000 jets.
"Air Policing is a combined effort making every member of the Hellenic Air Force also a valuable member of the NATO family, aiming to achieve common safety and security", says the Chief of the Hellenic Air Force General Staff, Lieutenant General Georgios Blioumis.
We will continue to work with our Allies demonstrating NATO cohesion, readiness and commitment to security
Thorough training both at home and during multinational exercises is continuously making pilots, air traffic controllers and each and every one of the Hellenic Air Force's personnel, a strong part of this NATO Air Policing system of systems.
The Hellenic Air Force currently flies their Mirage 2000 and F-16 fighter jets safeguarding the Greek airspace and patrolling Albanian, Montenegrin and North Macedonian skies. Tied into NATO Air Policing, sorties are controlled by the southern Combined Air Operations Centre at Torrejón, Spain, and the Hellenic Control and Reporting centre. Photos by the Hellenic Air Force
The tactical level training, simulating realistic scenarios like communication loss, emergency declaration etc., is one major aspect for aircrews and all the personnel to harmonize their procedures for being ready to achieve the collective aim of ensuring safe and secure skies. Controlled by NATO's Combined Air Operations Centre at Torrejón, Spain, the Hellenic Air Force's 1st Air Control Centre, RAP Production Centre and Sensor Fusion Post and the 2nd Control and Reporting Centre, Greece flies NATO Air Policing sorties out of all air bases in the country.
For Air Policing in the airspace of Montenegro and Albania, the Hellenic Air Force closely cooperates with the Italian Air Force, as both Allies keep fighter jets ready 24/7 for the mission. In the near future, the Hellenic Air Force will also contribute to the North Macedonia's Air Policing with NATO Quick Reaction Alert fighter aircraft.
"The Hellenic Air Force through all these years has proudly contributed to the NATO principles of safeguarding the integrity of NATO Alliance Member's Airspace in peacetime, through the ability of the Alliance to share and pool existing capabilities", the Chief of the Hellenic Air Force added. "We will continue to work with our Allies demonstrating NATO cohesion, readiness and commitment to security," General Blioumis concluded.