Greece, Israel Hold Joint Military Exercise to Sharpen Combat Skills

(Photo by Eurokinissi/Stelios Misinas)

With Turkey making noises it will keep up provocations against Greece and Cyprus, the Air Forces of Greece and Israel held a joint twelve-day exercise based at the 110 Combat Wing of the Larissa Air Base.

The exercise ended on Nov. 2 and was part of a defense cooperation program of the two countries aimed at bettering combat capacity and have closer cooperation between the two countries Air Forces in air-to-air and air-to-ground missions in mixed formations.

Greek fighter pilots regularly get to hone their skills by engaging in mock dogfights with Turkish counterparts who routinely violate Greek airspace without a word from NATO, the defense alliance to which both belong.

The Israeli Air Force participated with eleven F-16 fighter jets, one radar plane G550H and staff.

In June, Israel’s Air Force held a joint exercise with the Greek Air Force over the skies of Greece which included long-range flights and dozens of planes training in unfamiliar territory, the Israeli military stated, with practicing of air refueling and learning about one another’s flight crews.

Some 40 Israeli fighter jets from 10 fighter squadrons as well as tanker air craft participated in the exercise, never landing during two sorties. The exercise was part of a series planned for 2018 to improve readiness of Israel’s forces, the newspaper Haaretz said.

Military ties between Israel and Greece have improved over the past year. In March, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot was hosted for the first time by his Greek counterpart, while Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman hosted the Greek defense minister in Israel.