Supercruise Aviation - Article
Iniochos 2019 - three generation of aircraft, one exercise

In April, the Hellenic skies welcomed the multinational participants of exercise INIOCHOS 2019. Andravida AFB, in NW-Peloponnese, was once more host of the Iniochos exercise.
Personnel and fighter aircraft from five countries performed a mix of different Air Warfare missions. This years exercise with a first time participation of Italian Air Force F-35A Lightning II 5th generation fighters. Unique because three generation of aircraft were integrated in one exercise.

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 airbase.
It was also decided that Iniohos would become an Invitex exercise, meaning that other nations could be invited to participate in the exercise.

The Air Tactics Center (= KEAT) that is planning and controlling the exercises, is always trying to incorporate new scenarios. Making it even more challenging for the particpaiting pilots.
The frame for the 2019 edition was especially interesting, because of the major geopolitical and geostrategic shifts in the Eastern Mediterranean over the last few months, like for example the ongoing and growing dispute between the USA and Turkey about the purchase of the Russian S-400 Surface-to-Air missile system and the pending delivery of the first F-35A to the Turkish Air Force.

Therfore KEAT strives to introduce realistic practice scenarios every year. The reason for this is clear. The development of modern weaponsystems continues; improved radar systems, improved ground-air defense systems.
But certainly also the chance that a dogfight must be entered with a more modern aircraft. For the first time this edition brought a 5th generation aircraft to the Iniochos exercise.
Italy sent no less than six F-35As to Andravida.

This year there was no strict division into BLUE and RED Forces, but every participating squadron changed side, depending on the individual mission or also during a mission, as a further object of surprise for the other participants. Not only the pilots were training together, also the ground crews of all participating nations were cooperating to learn from each other’s procedures. A total of almost 100 sorties were executed every day.

Given the high level of the HAF personnel and their 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. Iniochos covers now-a-days the whole spectrum of modern Air Operations, from Air-to-Air through Air-to-Ground, to Maritime Operations.

Overview foreign participants:
Aeronautica Militare, Ghedi AB 6th Stormo, 6x Tornado (3x IDS and 3x ECR variants);
Aeronautica Militare, Amendola AB 13° Gruppo/32° Stormo, 6x F-35A Lighning IIs;
UAE AF, Al Safran AB 86 Sqn, 5x Mirage 2000-9EAD/DAD;
Heyl Ha'Avir (Israeli Air Force), Ramat David AB 109 and 117 Sqn, 13x F-16C/D “Barak”;
Unites States Europe, Spangdahlem AB in Germany 52nd FW, 6x F-16C.

Overview participants Hellenic Air Force:
Almiros/Néa Anghialos AB 330, 341 and 347 Mira with F-16C/D 'block 30 and 50';
Chania/Soúda AB 340 and 343 Mira with F-16C/D 'block 52';
Larisa AB 337 Mira with F-16C/D 'block 52+';
Tanagra AB 331 and 332 Mira with Mirage 2000-5EG/BG;
Andravida AB 338 Mira with Phantom F-4E (AUP).

The 13 Israeli F-16s participated only the first week of the exercise and left early in the morning on Friday Apr. 5. One other very interesting aircraft of Heyl Ha'Avir visited the exercise.
A white IAF Gulfstream G-V “Nachshon Shavit” airborne SIGINT (Signal Intelligence).

Report and Photos by Edward Antonissen