Text: Philippe Decock - Pictures: Philippe Decock, Hellenic Air Force - Archives: Coll Serge Van Heertum, Coll Denis Eusicom
Copyright sbap 2017İ
 
   
117 Air Combat Wing
   
Emblem: Tactical Air Support Emblem: 117 Air Combat Wing
 
Emblem
"Defend yourselves against the enemies"
("Quotations from the Seven Sages of Antiquity",
Stoveus' Anthology III, 8)

Location
Andravida Air Base.

Subordination
Hellenic Tactical Air Force (HTAF)

Squadrons
338 Fighter Bomber Squadron
339 All Weather Squadron

Aircraft served
F-84F Thunderstreak
T-33A SILVER STAR

Aircraft serving
F-4E AUP Phantom II

Mission
The mission of 117 CW is to maintain a high level of readiness and effectiveness. It is achieved by the appropriate organization, training of personnel and maintenance of the available means and systems. Furthermore, it is to undertake and successfully execute air operations at any given time.

History
The first infrastructure works for the Unit started in 1955.
In June 1960 the Killini - Andravida Air Detachment was established.
On March 4th, 1961, after a ministerial decision, the 117 Combat Group was formed, with the simultaneous abolition of the Air Detachment. The 339 Squadron, coming from Elefsis Airbase, was assigned to the Combat Group with Republic F-84F Thunderstreak aircraft.
On May 15th, 1969, the 117 Combat Group was renamed to 117 Combat Wing and was chosen for the reception of a new fighter aircraft, the F-4E Phantom II, which would be delivered from the United States of America. For this purpose the older infrastructure was reconstructed and a new was built for the aircraft maintenance and personnel accommodation. In the meantime the 339 Sqn had been transferred to 116 CW at Araxos AB.
On April 5th 1974, the first F-4E aircraft landed at the Unit and the aircraft delivery was complete by the end of year. The 339 Sqn returned to the Unit along with the 338 Sqn, in June 1974. The two Fighter Squadrons, 338 and 339, were assigned the Fighter/Bomber and Interception role respectively.
In December 1976 the 368 Applied Training Flight was formed, operating with four T-33A aircraft until March 1989.
In 1978 the construction of the 3rd runway was completed and in November of the same year, the weather RADAR was installed. Ever since, the Unit is organized and operates in the same form as today.
After the end of the Cold War in 1990, the USA decided to concede to Greece 28 aircraft of Indiana's National Guard named as "SRA" (Southeastern Regional Agreement). On the 3rd of August, 1991, nine F-4E SRA landed in Andravida AB, while the aircraft delivery was completed in November. The aircraft were assigned to the 338 Sqn who transferred her own to 339 Sqn and 337 Sqn (110CW).
After 23 years of presence in the Aegean Sea, HAF decided to upgrade the F-4E. At the end of 1997 the program "Peace Icarus 2000" began, providing both the structural reinforcement of aircraft and the quality improvement of their electronics. On December 18th 2002, the delivery ceremony of the first upgraded aircraft was held in the Hellenic Aviation Industry facilities, and so began the integration of the upgraded aircraft in 117CW.
On July 6th 2012, 339 Sqn celebrated 60 years in service, followed by the 338 Sqn on July 20th, and festive events were held in 117CW.
On September 12th, 2014, celebrations were held in 117CW for the 40 years of F-4E presence in the Greek skies (1974-2014).
On October 31st, 2017, the 339 Sqn stopped operating.

 
 Republic F-84F Thunderstreak   (Coll Denis Eusicom) Lockheed CT-33A Silver Star  (Coll Serge Van Heertum)
 McDonnell Douglas F-4E AUP Phantom II   (Philippe Decockİ)
 (Philippe Decockİ) Special tail to celebrate 40 years of Phantom operations
(Philippe Decockİ)
 Front and rear cockpit of the F-4E AUP and the impressive air intake  (Philippe Decockİ)
 
338 Squadron
 

Emblem: Ares, the Greek god of War, holding a bomb.
Call Sign: ARES (Mars)
The emblem of the squadron took its present form in 1974. The god has been "modernized" in relation to the earlier emblem, since instead of a spear he is holding a 2000 lb bomb. In the background lies the international mascot of the F-4 Phantom, Spooky, as the squadron operates with this type of aircraft for more than 40 years. 
Inside the emblem there the inscription "
Η  ΤΑΝ  Η  ΕΠΙ  ΤΑΣ", the phrase Spartan mothers used to say to their sons when they handed over the shield for the battle: "Return with the shield or (be carried) upon it".

Aircraft served
F-84G Thunderjet
F-84F Thunderstreak

Aircraft serving
F-4E AUP Phantom II

History
The 338 Squadron was formed on December 24th, 1952, at Elefsis AB, as 338 Fighter Bomber Squadron, equipped with the Republic F-84G Thunderjet aircraft.
In April 1953, the Squadron was deployed to Larissa where it stayed until November 1956, and thereafter was redeployed to the 112 Combat Wing.
In May 1958, it was incorporated into the 115 CW at Souda AB until January 1960, when it was disbanded.
It re-formed in August 1964 equipped with Republic F-84F Thunderstreak aircraft.
In June 1974, the Squadron redeployed to 117CW in Andravida AB, where the F-4E Phantom II were delivered.
In March 1975 the squadron was fully operational.
In 1981, the mobile training team of the US Air Force (USAF), participated in the new squadron's training tactics. There was an exchange of F-4E aircraft between 338 Sqn and 337 Sqn of 110CW in the same year.
On August 5th 1991, the squadron replaced the old aircraft with upgraded version of F-4E coming from US stocks, the F-4E Southeastern Regional Agreement (SRA), their operational use beginning on 12th of October 1991.
At the end of 1997, after 23 years of service, HAF decided to upgrade the aircraft purchased under the programs Peace Icarus I and Peace Icarus II.
On December 18th 2002, the delivery ceremony of the first upgraded aircraft was held in the Hellenic Aviation Industry facilities, and so began the integration of the upgraded aircraft in 117CW. These aircrafts were delivered to 338 and 339 Squadrons. After the modernization, the Squadron assumed fighter bomber missions, with results comparable to those of third generation aircraft.
In 2004, 338 squadron participated for the first time in the Tactical Leadership Program in Belgium.
As from november 2017, following the absorption of 339 Sqn aircraft and personnel, 338 Sqn is assigned a primary air-to-ground mission with secondary air-to-air tasking.

 
 Republic F-84G Thunderjet   (Coll Denis Eusicom) Republic F-84F Thunderstreak   (Coll Denis Eusicom)
 McDonnell Douglas F-4E AUP Phantom II with special tail to celebrate the unit 60th anniversary  (Philippe Decockİ)
 The same but the other side  (Philippe Decockİ) McDonnell Douglas F-4E AUP Phantom II taking off  (Philippe Decockİ)
 (Philippe Decockİ) (Philippe Decockİ)
 McDonnell Douglas F-4E AUP Phantom II in air-to-air configuration
(Hellenic Air Forceİ)
(Hellenic Air Forceİ)
 McDonnell Douglas F-4E AUP Phantom II with 338 Sqn markings
(Hellenic Air Forceİ)
(Hellenic Air Forceİ)
 338 Sqn apron  (Philippe Decockİ)
 McDonnell Douglas F-4E AUP Phantom II just landed  (Philippe Decockİ) (Philippe Decockİ)
 (Philippe Decockİ) McDonnell Douglas F-4E AUP Phantom II releasing its drag chute
(Philippe Decockİ)
 (Philippe Decockİ) (Philippe Decockİ)
 McDonnell Douglas F-4E AUP Phantom II starting up  (Philippe Decockİ) (Philippe Decockİ)
 (Philippe Decockİ) (Philippe Decockİ)
 (Philippe Decockİ) (Philippe Decockİ)
 Close up on the Gatling-style M61 Vulcan  (Philippe Decockİ) Close up on the Rafael Litening II targeting pod  (Philippe Decockİ)
 McDonnell Douglas F-4E AUP Phantom II in the 338 Sqn maintenance hangar
(Philippe Decockİ)
(Philippe Decockİ)
 Close up on the tail of a 338 Sqn McDonnell Douglas F-4E AUP Phantom II
(Philippe Decockİ)
(Philippe Decockİ)
 (Philippe Decockİ) (Philippe Decockİ)
 (Philippe Decockİ) (Philippe Decockİ)
 (Philippe Decockİ) (Philippe Decockİ)
 (Philippe Decockİ) (Philippe Decockİ)
 (Philippe Decockİ) (Philippe Decockİ)
 
339 Squadron
 

Emblem: Aias (Ajax) (the son of King Telamon of Salamis) as an archer. Ajax as an archer, with the ghost SPOOKY, holding a missile, in the background.
Call Sign : Aias (sounds like "Eas")


Aircraft served
F-84G Thunderjet
F-84F Thunderstreak
F-4E AUP Phantom II

History
The 339 Squadron was established on July 7th 1952, in 112 CW at Elefsis air base, as the 339 Fighter Bomber Squadron equipped with F-84G "Thunderjet" aircraft, the first jets of the Hellenic Air force .
In January 1953, the Squadron was transferred to 110 CW at Larissa air base where the squadron remained until 1956 when it was transferred back to 112 CW.

In August 1959 the Squadron received the Republic F-84F "Thunderstreak" aircraft and redeployed to 110 CW. In April 1960, it redeployed to 111 CW at Nea Anchialos AB. In March 1971, it redeployed to 117 CW at Andravida AB.
On March 1, 1973, it was temporarily redeployed to 116 CW in Araxos AB because of infrastructural works at Andravida, for the reception of the new F-4E Phantom II aircraft.
Upon completion of works in March 1974, the squadron returned to 117 CW .
On April 1974 the first deliveries of F-4E Phantom II aircraft started, under the program Peace Icarus I. 339 Squadron integrates in its force the new fighter with a dual interception and fighter bomber role.
In September 1978, the Squadron becomes primary tasked with fighter bomber mission and interception as a secondary tasking. In February 1983 it changes with interception becoming a primary tasking and fighter bomber a secondary tasking.
In October 1997 starts the electronic's upgrade program of the F-4E weapon systems known as AUP-AVIONICS UPGRADE PROGRAMME. Receipt of the upgraded F-4E "Peace Icarus 2000" began in 2002 and ended in October 2005. Simultaneously with the release of the aircraft began the training of pilots in the upgraded F-4E PI 2000 at EADS facilities in Germany (November 2002) and continued in the Andravida AFB (July 2003) which was completed in December 2003.
The operational certification of 339 Squadron by the Hellenic Tactical Air Force was completed in December 2003.
On October 31, 2017, after 65 years of service, the 339 Squadron was suspended.

 
Republic F-84G Thunderjet  (Hellenic Air Force archivesİ)  Republic F-84F Thunderstreak  (Coll Denis Eusicom)
 McDonnell Douglas F-4E AUP Phantom II with a special tail for the 339 Sqn suspension of operations  (Philippe Decockİ)
 (Philippe Decockİ) A pair of 339 Sqn McDonnell Douglas F-4E AUP Phantom II taking off
(Philippe Decockİ)
 A pair of 339 Sqn McDonnell Douglas F-4E AUP Phantom II in flight
(Hellenic Air Forceİ)
(Hellenic Air Forceİ)
 (Hellenic Air Forceİ) (Hellenic Air Forceİ)
 (Philippe Decockİ) (Philippe Decockİ)
 (Philippe Decockİ) (Philippe Decockİ)
 (Philippe Decockİ) (Philippe Decockİ)
 (Philippe Decockİ) (Philippe Decockİ)
 (Philippe Decockİ) (Philippe Decockİ)
 A 339 Sqn McDonnell Douglas F-4E AUP Phantom II taxiing out
(Philippe Decockİ)
Close up on the special tail for the 339 Sqn suspension of operations
(Philippe Decockİ)
 
Preserved Aircraft
 
 The last of the original McDonnell Douglas RF-4E Phantom II preserved in a shelter  (Philippe Decockİ)
 Republic F-84F Thunderstreak  (Philippe Decockİ) Canadair CL-13 Sabre  (Philippe Decockİ)
 Lockheed F-104G Starfighter  (Philippe Decockİ) Northrop F-5A Freedom Fighter  (Philippe Decockİ)
 McDonnell Douglas RF-4E Phantom II (Philippe Decockİ) McDonnell Douglas RF-4E Phantom II  (Philippe Decockİ)
 Front cockpit of the RF-4E  (Philippe Decockİ) Rear navigator post  (Philippe Decockİ)
 Ejection seat  (Philippe Decockİ) (Philippe Decockİ)
 Side console  (Philippe Decockİ) Nose camera location  (Philippe Decockİ)
 
Wrecks and Relics
 
 McDonnell Douglas F-4E and RF-4E Phantom II   (Philippe Decockİ)
 McDonnell Douglas F-4E Phantom II  (Philippe Decockİ) McDonnell Douglas F-4E Phantom II  (Philippe Decockİ)
 A pair of former Luftwaffe McDonnell Douglas RF-4E Phantom II
(Philippe Decockİ)
McDonnell Douglas F-4E Phantom II  (Philippe Decockİ)
 McDonnell Douglas F-4E Phantom II  (Philippe Decockİ) (McDonnell Douglas F-4E Phantom II  Philippe Decockİ)
 McDonnell Douglas F-4E Phantom II  (Philippe Decockİ) LTV TA-7H Corsair II   (Philippe Decockİ)
 

On behalf of SBAP, I would like to thank the Embassy of Belgium in Athens, the Hellenic Air Force General Staff, Andravida Air Base Commanding Officer, my guide of the day and all the people I met during my visit for helping us in the realization of this report.

 

Reports Menu - Homepage