Exercise INIOCHOS 2019

INIOCHOS 2019

Iniochos-teliko

Report and photos by Danny Reijnen

June 1, 2019

On April 1st the exercise INIOCHOS 2019 started on Andravida airbase for 2 weeks. Exercise INIOCHOS is an annual medium scale exercise (type INVITEX) based on the facilities of the AIR TACTICS CENTER at the Andravida Air Base, located in the Northwest Peloponnese.

The Exercise scenario adopts a Single Base Concept (execution of operations from a single Air Base), with the participation of all branches of the Armed Forces.

This year was an interesting year for the Air Tactics Center, because of the purchase of the F35A by the Turkey and the purchase of Russian S-400 Surface to Air Missiles, there were some mayor political land strategic shifts in the Eastern Mediterranean. The exercise made a mayor step forward to have the F-35A participating.

History

The INIOCHOS Exercise was first conducted in the late 1980s, as a small scale tactical level exercise, tailored to the contemporary necessity for training in combined air operations in accordance with the Hellenic Air Force Doctrine. Over the next years, the success of the exercise led to the decision on establishing it as an annual event

The exercise objective was to train personnel in planning and execution of Combined Air Operations (COMAO) in accordance with the HAF Doctrine and National Plans in a realistic environment, in order to test and evaluate operational plans and tactics.

For the execution and conduction of the Exercise, the Hellenic Fighter Weapons School was deployed to Larissa, so as to form the White Cell in the facilities of the National Center for Air Operations. The White Cell was responsible for the optimal coordination and planning of the operations, while participating Aircrafts were also deployed to Larissa, at 110CW, from where they launched for their missions.

In 2005, the Exercise was decentralized, thus the participating Aircraft were operating from their mother bases, while the White Cell, the planning and the coordination were taking place in the Air Tactics Center and the Fighter Weapons School facilities, in Andravida Air Force Base, implementing newly acquired means of Command and Control.

In November 2013, the decision was made to adopt a Single Base Concept, upgrading the exercise scale to medium and expanding the spectrum of operations with the objective to create a more realistic and Demanding environment, with an intensive and prolonged 24/7 battle rhythm, significantly increasing the level of training.

In April 2015, the exercise is being held for the first time in the form of INVITEX (Invitation Exercise), with the participation of the IAF and the USAFE Special Forces (SOF) as JTAC.

Objective Iniochos

The objectove of Iniochos 2019 is the same for some years now :

To train personnel in the planning and execution of Combined Air Operations in a realistic environment.

During the exercise, a realistic battle environment is being created in order to provide a challenging and demanding high-threat environment for the participating Air Forces, together with the opportunity of using different kinds of target ranges (over land and sea) for absolutely realistic training conditions with the simultaneous inclusion of Hellenic and international Army and Navy exercises.

Participants

Country Type Unit
Greece F-16C/D

F-4 E

Mirage

EMB-145H

 

330/335/336/337/340/341/343/347 Mira

338 Mira

331 and 332 Mira

380 Mira

USA F-16C 480th FS
Italy Tornado IDS

Tornado ECR

F-35A

6th Stormo

6th Stormo

13th Gruppo

Israël F-16C/D 107 Sqn / 117 Sqn
United Arab Emirates Mirage 2000-9EAD/DAD 86 Sqn

MISSION

In order to achieve the objectives of the Exercise, the HFWS 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:

  1. Air operations versus Integrated Air Defense System (IADS)
  2. Offensive Counter Air / Airfield Attack
  3. Air Interdiction / Special Targets (bridges, power stations, vehicles, etc.)
  4. Anti-Surface Warfare
  5. Slow Mover Protection (SLOMO)
  6. Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR)
  7. Dynamic Targeting (DT) / Strike Coordination and Reconnaissance (SCAR) / Close Air Support (CAS) / Time Sensitive Targets (TST)
  8. High Value Airborne Asset (HVAA) Protect/Attack

Since the first INVITEX in 2015, INIOCHOS exercise has attracted participation from USAFE, Israel Defense Forces, the United Arab Emirates Air Force, and the Italian Air Force and with increasing interest for participation by other countries.

Given the high level of the Hellenic Air Force personnel and the capability to conduct exercises, involving a variety of weapon systems within one of the largest exercise areas in Europe, the exercise «INIOCHOS» aspires to become the most competitive exercise in Europe and the Mediterranean region, and provide participants with a high level of training and unique experience of participation.

Exercise

In this years exercise every squadron of the participating units had the opportunity to be the Blue and Red Force.. With a minimum of 2 missions and a maximum of 3 missions flown each day for 2 weeks, about 100 sorties were flown each day.

To obtain the objective of the Iniochos exercise, the Fighter Weapons School at Andravida oversees the missions from scenario planning to debriefing and makes certain that they cover the current full spectrum of modern Air Warfare missions.

F-35A Lightning II

The 2019 edition saw some very special guests. F-35A’s Lightning II’s participated. The Lightnings, in total six aircraft, came from 13° Gruppo / 32° Stormo ‘Armando Boetto’ at Amendola.

The F-35As carried radar reflectors of the Luneburg type, which increase radar cross section (RCS) not only during the transition to and from the Andravida airbase but also throughout their participation in the exercise.

As part of large strike packages the 5th generation F-35As carried out joint missions alongside the other “legacy” aircraft, including the 3rd generation Hellenic Air Force F-4Es. In fact, the Lightning is equipped with both the Multifunction Advanced Data Link and Link 16, used only as a “backdoor” that allows the F-35 to communicate with legacy aircraft and perform the function of “enhancers” of previous generation platforms.

Though the F-4 E Phantom is a 3th generation fighter, it carries avionics which are almost the same as the block 52 F-16’s flying with the Hellenic Air Force.

The F-35s flew also side-to-side with the Tornado ECR a variant of the baseline Tornado equipped with electronic warfare equipment and weapons for the suppression of enemy air defences and for electronic and tactical reconnaissance, that the Lightning II is expected to replace in the future. The Tornado ECRs performed several SEAD and DEAD (Suppression/Destruction of Enemy Air Defenses) in a complex scenario in which Hellenic Land and Sea forces simulated to be enemy threats.

The Iniochos exercise will again being held in 2020 at Andravida. Known already is that the exercise attracts more and more countries willing to participate.

Nothing much is said about lessons learned in this years exercise but one thing is for sure, all participating units had a perfect opportunity to fly with and against unique units in the most beautiful surroundings Greece could offer.

CLICK ON AN IMAGE BELOW TO PAGE OR SWIPE THROUGH THE GALLERY:

Danny Reijnen on Email
Danny Reijnen
Photojournalist at Aviation Photography Digest
Danny Reijnen was born in Nijmegen, the Netherlands and currently resides in Almere in the Middle of the Netherlands with his girlfriend Susan and 4 kids.

Danny currently works for the Ministry of Defence at Schiphol Airport. His passion towards military aviation started when he was 7 years old. His dad took him to Volkel airbase. There he saw a lot of F-16s flying and he got hooked. He has been active in aviation photography since 1993.

When he first began, he was using an analog film camera. After awhile he got his first digital Konica Minolta 7D. After a couple of years the camera needed to be replaced and he bought a Sony A700. In 2015, he purchased a Sony A77 while continuing to use A700 as a secondary camera.

Despite of having a busy job, and being interested in taking photographs, Danny recently started to put his talent to use as a photojournalist in military aviation.

Danny can be reached at: [email protected]

Send this to a friend

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER
All rights reserved © Aviation Photography Digest, 2018
Subscribe to our FREE newsletter and get notified when new articles are published.
  • Original material featuring air forces from around the world
  • High quality photographs tell the visual story
  • Unique insight into military aviation
  • Featured videos
  • New content published regularly