Exercise Iniohos 2019
Air Tactics Centre (Kentro Aeroporikis Taktikis – KEAT)
117 Combat Wing Andravida Air Base

April 1 to 12, 2019
A 331 MPK Mirage 2000B-5 jumps the queue to take-off ahead of taxiing HAF F-16s.
Hellenic Air Force Andravida Iniohos Iniohos 2019
The Iniohos/Iniochos (Charioteer in Greek) concept started in November 2013 when planning picked up pace for Iniohos 2014 planned for the following April exclusively attended by HAF units. Iniohos 2015 was the first multi-national invitational exercise (INVITEX). Every year since the exercise has operated principally from Andravida. Iniohos 2019 as with previous years exercises covered a wide spectrum of air scenarios in order to achieve the objectives set. These included a range of missions such as; Offensive Counter Air Operations (OCA), Air Defence Operations (ADO), Counter Surface Force Operations (CSFO) including Air Power Contribution to Land Ops (APCLO) and Air Power Contribution to Maritime Ops (APCMO), RECCE missions, Combat Search And Rescue missions, Time Sensitive Target missions, Dynamic Targeting, High Value Airborne Asset missions and Slow Mover.


The Italian Air Force (ItAF) attended with a strong force of six Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II with 32° Stormo based at Amendola and six Panavia PA200 Tornado from 6° Stormo based at Ghedi. This is the first time that the 5th Generation F-35A Lightening II has participated here and all aircrews and the operators of an array of radar reliant ground defence systems (MIM-104 Patriot, iCrotale SRAD, SA-15 Gaunlet and SA-20 Gargoyle surface to air missile systems) have had the chance to test their capabilities against the most advanced strike aircraft in the world. For the ItAF it was an ideal opportunity to bring their F-35As closer to Full Operational Capability (FOC). In total the ItAF flew 145 sorties for a total of about 250 flight hours at Iniohos, bolstering interoperability between their Tornado strike force and F-35.

Blue Air from which mission planners can select the aircraft required for the task

Hellenic Air Force (Elliniki Polemiki Aeroporia)
F-16C/D Block 52+ Fighting Falcons from 337 Mira based at Lárissa.
F-16C/D Block 52+ Fighting Falcons from 340 Mira based at Souda, Crete,
F-16C Block 50 Fighting Falcons from 341 and 347 based at Nea Anchialos,
F-16C Block 30 Fighting Falcons from 330 Mira based at Nea Anchialos,
6 x F-4E (AUP) Phantoms from 338 Mira based at Andravida,
2 x Dassault Mirage 2000-5s from 331 Mira based at Tanagra,
2 x Dassault Mirage 2000-5EGs from 332 Mira based at Tanagra.

Israeli Air Force
6 x F-16C/D Block 30 Brakeet from the 109th 'The Valley Squadron' based at Ramat David Air Base,
6 x F-16C Block 30 Barak from the 117th 'First Jet Squadron' based at Ramat David Air Base.

United Arab Emirates Air Force
6 x Dassault Mirages 2000-9EAD of 71 Squadron based at Al Dhafra,

Italian Air Force (Aeronautica Militare)

3 x Panavia PA200 Tornado IDS (Interdictor/Strike) with 154° Gruppo of 6° Stormo based at Ghedi,
3 x Panavia PA200 Tornado ECR (Electronic Combat and Reconnaissance) with 155° Gruppo of 6° Stormo based at Ghedi,
6 x Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II with 13° Gruppo of 32° Stormo based at Amendola.

US Air Force
12 x F-16CJ Block 50 Fighting Falcon with the 52 FW based at Spangdahlem in Germany.
Hellenic Air Force Andravida Iniohos
ItAF 32° Stormo Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II touches down after a long mission.
The Iniohos mission scenarios are challenging for the offensive ‘blue air’ strike forces flying against a wide variety of well defended ‘red air’ airfields and bombing ranges and also against Hellenic naval assets in the Aegean Sea. JTAC (Joint Terminal Attack Controller) teams from each nation were deployed to guide the airborne strike forces. It was reported that low level missions were reduced as compared to previous Iniohos exercises but still featured strongly across the whole of mainland Greece. As the Greek terrain is so different to any available to the invited nation’s aircrew, any low flying increases the value of the training. An Israeli F-16 pilot with the 117th Squadron made this point at the end of the exercise; "The terrain was unfamiliar the threats were different to what we were used to and we had to face great uncertainty. A large amount of aircraft in the air – both 'red' and 'blue' – makes for a mess in the airspace and communicating in English makes everything more difficult.”

Iniohos brings together military personnel from a range of invited nations. The Hellenic Air Forces Air Tactics Centre (Kentro Aeroporikis Taktikis - KEAT) at Andravida is a modern environment designed specifically for commanders and aircrew to plan execute and debrief complex missions involving all participating nations working closely together. Cooperation across nations for each mission adds an extra dimension in the planning phase, enabling those involved to communicate and learn from each other, although this is not as easy as with their normal everyday operations the benefits are obvious.

Major Daniels Nikolas, an F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot with the Hellenic Air Force talks of his Iniohos experience; “Flying together is not simple, seeing as each air force has combat doctrines and procedures of its own. Our countries are different, we fight differently and base our modes of operation on different mentalities. We then have five hours to understand each other, plan together and work together successfully. It isn't simple, but we try.” Maj. Nikolas continued; “We pilot the same aircraft, which means we have a lot to learn from each other, and we continue to learn more and more with every year that passes.”

Aircraft maintainers are also challenged to keep ‘their’ aircraft flying during each operational day to not let their ‘team’ down. This is not easy as the aircraft types are varied, and each invited unit was operating far from their home base. Major Louie Haim Yafim, commander of the Israeli Air Force Technical Department commented; "The main challenge in maintenance is doing it far from home, when we don't have all our tools with us and our logistical support is limited. All we have is what we take with us, and we have to use that in order to succeed in our mission and help the aircraft take off safely." With the Hellenic and United States Air Forces also participating with F-16s, it gave each team the opportunity to observe and learn how each unit maintained their aircraft.

Greek Defence Minister Evangelos Apostolakis speaking at Andravida spoke of his governments objectives; “Today we are passing the message that cooperation, synergy and good relations are the ones that ensure peace and security in the region. We are moving in this direction, all of us who share the same view and face the same threats.” Undoubtably Iniohos has become one of the most complex and competitive and consequently most valuable air exercise in Europe.
Hellenic Air Force Andravida Iniohos Hellenic Air Force Andravida Iniohos Hellenic Air Force Andravida Iniohos Hellenic Air Force Andravida Iniohos
Left to right: Tornado IDS (MM7044 '6-76') with 154° Gruppo of 6° Stormo based at Ghedi,
F-16C Block 52+ Fighting Falcon (530) from 337 'Fantasma' (Ghost) Mira, 110 Combat Wing based at Lárissa,
F-16C Block 52+ Fighting Falcon (534) of 340 Mira 'Fox', 115 Combat Wing based at Souda,
F-16C Block 50 Fighting Falcon (052) with 341 'Arrow' All Weather Squadron, 111 Combat Wing based at Néa Anchialos.
Hellenic Air Force Andravida Iniohos
F-16CJ Block 50 Fighting Falcon (96-0083 'SP') with the 52 FW based at Spangdahlem in Germany.
Hellenic Air Force Andravida Iniohos Hellenic Air Force Andravida Iniohos Hellenic Air Force Andravida Iniohos
Left to right: F-16D Block 30 Brakeet (079) from the 109th 'The Valley Squadron' based at Ramat David Air Base,
F-16C Block 30 Barak (356) from the 117th 'First Jet Squadron' based at Ramat David Air Base,
Lockheed C-130H Karnaf (102) with 131 'The Yellow Bird Squadron' based at Nevatim.
Hellenic Air Force Andravida Iniohos
Mirage 2000-9EADs (741) of 71 Squadron of the UAE AF based at Al Dhafra.