Iniohos 2021 Hellenic Air Force exercise - Report

Iniohos 2021 Andravida Greece
Combat aircraft taxi before takeoff on the runway at Andravida Air Base, Greece.

The annual Hellenic Air Force-led International Joint Medium Scale Exercise, the Iniohos 2021 (or Iniochos 2021), took place from April 12 to 22 at the Andravida Air Base, Greece. Seven nations and dozens of fighter aircraft trained in one of the most suitable and challenging airspace around Europe.

The main goal of the “Iniohos” is to simulate a real battle scenario, which includes the design, the operation, the collection of data from the battle assessment and the debriefing for each mission. The Iniohos 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.

“INIOCHOS is an important opportunity for our Airmen to train alongside and learn from our Greek allies as well as the other exercise participants,” said U.S. Air Force Gen Jeff Harrigian, USAFE-AFAFRICA commander. “It both improves the relationships that underpin our military alliance and creates opportunities to refine critical skills that enhance our interoperability.”

During this year’s exercise all kinds of modern operations were designed and executed. These included arfield attack, air interdiction, slow mover protection, close air support, combat SAR, Integrated Air Defense System and reconnaissance (As shown in the pictures, some aircraft are equipped with targeting pod).

The Exercise was conducted throughout the FIR of Athens with the participation of a large number of aircraft from the Hellenic Air Force as well as Greek allies.

This year marked the sixth consecutive participation of the U.S. Air Force which sent fourteen F-16C Fighting Falcons from the 31st Fighter Wing, Aviano Air Base, Italy. In addition, Israeli F-15s and F-16s, Spanish F/A-18 Hornets, UAE F-16s and French Rafales and M-2000Ds took part in the Iniohos 21. The HAF is confirmed as the main player of the Iniohos, it has deployed almost all its assets: F-16 Block 30/50/52+/M, F-4 Phantom, Mirage 2000 and EMB-145H AEW&C.

Greece is the perfect place for hosting such exercises since the rough terrain of Greece in combination with the Aegean Sea offers a great landscape for mission planners and crews to simulate different kinds of scenarios. Also, there are no densely populated areas and no competing air traffic to compromise the realism and the quality of training. Pilots can also rely on the excellent weather of Greece which offers the ability to fly and train at all altitude.

The "Iniohos" exercise dates back to the late 80s, when it was established as a small scale air warfare exercise with only aircraft of the Hellenic Air Force. Initially the participating aircraft were deployed to 110 CW in Larisa, but in later years each aircraft operated from its home base. In 2005, “Iniohos” was transformed into a medium scale exercise, involving all three branches of the Hellenic Armed Forces. On November 2013, the Single Base Concept was adopted for Iniohos and the selected host for this kind of event was 117 CW at Andravida air base. It was also decided that “Iniohos” would become an Invitex exercise, meaning that other nations could be invited to participate in the exercise.

Iniohos 2021 Andravida Greece

Iniohos 2021 Andravida Greece

Iniohos 2021 Andravida Greece

Iniohos 2021 Andravida Greece

Iniohos 2021 Andravida Greece

Iniohos 2021 Andravida Greece

Iniohos 2021 Andravida Greece

Iniohos 2021 Andravida Greece

Iniohos 2021 Andravida Greece

Iniohos 2021 Andravida Greece

Iniohos 2021 Andravida Greece

Iniohos 2021 Andravida Greece

Iniohos 2021 Andravida Greece

Iniohos 2021 Andravida Greece


Written by Matteo Sanzani
Photo Credit: George Karavantos

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