“Blue & White Glory” training exercise: The Hellenic Army’s Aerial Wing deployed to Israel for a joint practice with the Israeli helicopters squadrons. This is the first time the Hellenic Army’s Aerial Wing has deployed abroad
Eilon Tohar & Talya Yariv
For the IAF, the last few weeks has been packed with cooperation with different forces around the world. After taking part in the “Red Flag” training exercise in the USA, presenting Israeli aircraft in the “Radom Air Show 2015” in Poland and deploying to Greece, the cooperation between Israel and Greece continues to flourish: for the first time, the Hellenic Army’s Aerial Wing deployed outside Greek borders, for a joint practice with the Israeli Air Force, the “Blue & White Glory”.
“The cooperation between the Israeli army and the Hellenic army is intensifying in recent years and we are definitely expecting more joint deployments in the future”, said Lt. Col. Omri, commander of the “Apache” “Magic Touch” squadron and the commander of the aerial force in the exercise which included six Greek helicopters, two fighter jet squadrons and one Israeli helicopter squadron.
“The IAF is one of the best air forces in the world”
A special guest who joined the landing Greek helicopters in Israel was Brig. Gen. Antonius Daras, the commander of the Hellenic Army’s Aerial Wing. During his visit, Brig. Gen. Daras toured Ramon Airbase and met with high-ranking officers in the IAF, with whom he discussed the continuation of cooperation between the forces. “We have a very promising cooperation”, declared Brig. Gen. Daras. “We work hard to maintain it one a daily basis. We strive to strengthen our cooperation by exchanging teams and creating a mutual learning”.
During the training exercise, the participating aircraft conducted introductory flights over the Negev Desert and also practiced attack missions and rescuing of downed pilots in joint formations. “There are great differences between the IAF and the Hellenic army’s air forces”, stressed Lt. Col. Omri. “Each force has different missions, which are many times executed in different ways and the geographical location of every country requires readiness for different threats. In spite of all that, we did find many similarities in the foundation of each force’s operational activity”.
“I am highly impressed with the IAF and its helicopters squadrons”, said Brig. Gen. Daras. “The main difference between us is that you fight every day and we fly every day. All of your units are extremely professional, your aircraft possess great capabilities and you perform your missions in the best possible way. I believe that the IAF is one of the best air forces in the world and we are happy to learn from you. I am proud that Israel is the first country that hosts the Hellenic Army for a training exercise since WWII”.
“This is a first-of-its-kind deployment”, said Lt. Col. Omri. “This is the first time Greek helicopters deploy outside Greece and the experience of flying to a foreign country is meaningful for them. Flying over a desert is not a common experience for them and by facing these differences, I believe that the forces can learn a lot from each other”.