Text: Philippe Decock - Pictures: Philippe Decock, Hellenic Air Force
Copyright sbap 2019©
 
 
113 Air Combat Wing
      
  
 Emblem: Air Support Command Emblem: 113 Air Combat Wing
 
One of the most well known and historic units of the Hellenic Air Force is the 113 Combat Wing, because of the fact that the wing participated in all the fights since the Balcan Wars.

The major landmarks in the wing's history are as follows:

1912 Usage of Sedes airport by Greek and French aircraft during the Balcan wars.

1914 First unit activation as a training center.

1919 The unit was renamed to "Military Aviation School".

1927 Establishment of the 1st Aircraft Regiment.

1939 The unit operates as a "War Training Center" for pilots and observers.

1945 Immediately after the end of WW II the first HAF Combat Wing was formed, with the 335 and 336 Fighter Bomber Squadrons equipped with Spitfire aircraft.

1954 The unit is renamed to 113 Mixed Training Wing and the 356 Air Transport Squadron is established with the Douglas C-47 Dakota.

1974 Micra airport was activated and the 343 Day Intercept Squadron redeployed there equipped with the Northrop F-5A/B Freedom Fighter.

1975 The unit was renamed to 113 Combat Wing and subordinated operationally and administratively to the Tactical Air Force HQ. Also the 355.1 Tactical Transport Flight replaced the 356 Air Transport Squadron both equipped with the Douglas C-47 Dakota.

1985 Redeployment of 221 Operational Training Sqn to Micra airport and return of 343 Day Interception Sqn to the Nea Anchialos based 111CW.

1993 Redeployment of the F-5 Training Flight to Micra airport which was renamed "Macedonia" airport since then.

1999 Start of the deployment of MIM-104 PATRIOT PAC-3 system to Sedes air base (23 Guided Missile Sqn and 350 Guided Missile Wing).

2000 The F-5 Training Flight ceases to operate.

2001 Withdrawal of the F-5 from active service.

2002 Establishment of the 23 Guided Missile Sqn and 2nd ICC (Patriot) to Sedes airport.

2003 Redeployment of Sedes headquarters and 355.1 Tactical Transport Flight to Micra airport.

2006 Redeployment of 383 Special Operations & Air Fire Fighting Squadron (383MEEA) to the 113 Combat Wing. Subordination of the 113CW to the Air Force Support Command (AFSC).
  
336 Fighter Bomber Squadron Spitfire Mk.Vc trop
(©Hellenic Air Force archives)
356 Air Transport Squadron Douglas C-47A Skytrain (Dakota)
(©Hellenic Air Force archives)
343 Day Interception Squadron Northrop F-5A
(©Hellenic Air Force archives)
23 Guided Missile Squadron MIM-104 Patriot
(©Hellenic Air Force archives)
 
Thessaloniki Airbase 113 CW today
 
(Philippe Decock ©)
   
Emblem: 383 Squadron (MEEA)
Emblem: 113CW Flight Training Squadron Emblem: 113CW Maintenance Squadron 
383MEEA

The squadron's name is associated with the sea, the daily contact with which dominates the squadron's mission.
According to the Greek mythology, Proteus was one of the Atlases who held the earth. Escorting Poseidon, he was also a god of the sea and had the special ability to transform to many shapes.
The Hellenic Air Force roundel has a notable place in the composition. The squadron's motto says "We passed through fire and water" and comes from St. Kosmas Etolos's last words to his Turk executioners. The motto schematically represents the cycle, taking and dropping water to the fire. This process characterizes the squadron's operational method.
One of the youngest HAF squadrons, the 383 Special Operations & Air Fire Fighting Squadron was formed on May 16th, 2003, as a result of the splitting of the 355 Tactical Transport Squadron (TTS).
The squadron received 10 CL-415s, two of which in Multi-Purpose (MP) configuration adapted for search and rescue missions. The delivery of the first airplanes to the 355TTS started in January 1999 at Elefsis based 112CW. The 383 Sqn operates the CL-415 in the aerial fire fighting, tactical transportation and search and rescue missions.
The Squadron's particular role, fire fighting, is one aspect of the Hellenic Air Force social contribution to the Country and the citizens. The airplanes of 383 Sqn fight forest fires which destroy the natural resources of the country and the property of Greek people.
In addition to fire-fighting, the CL-415 airplanes patrol the high risk areas throughout the whole country in order to prevent and extinguish forest fires as soon as possible. They also provide search and rescue to vessels throughout the Mediterranean.
In the frame of Greece's foreign affairs policy, CL-415's support other countries which are hit by disastrous fires. They took part in fire fighting missions in France (2003) and Portugal (2004), while the crews and squadron's airplanes contributed to fire fighting in Turkey (TURPAS refinery after the earthquake of 1999) and in Cyprus (2001 - 2002), when they still served with the 355TTS.
Between 2003 and 2006, during the summer period, the Squadron operated simultaneously from 112CW and other airports, where fire fighting detachments are formed according to the Fire Brigade's annual demands. During the summer period, operational control of the aircraft is assumed by the Fire Brigade.
The airplanes are based at the 113CW (Thessaloniki International Macedonia) and 117CW (Andravida) airports, while redeployed as detachments all over the country (i.e. Heraklion, Souda, Rodos, Karpathos, Kalamata) where fires break out.
Of major importance was the contribution to the protection of the Olympics in 2004, as well as the extinguishing of large forest fires to N. Voutzas and to Gramatikon after the HELIOS airliner crash in 2005.
In 2006, after the Supreme Air Force Council's decision, the squadron is transfered to the "MACEDONIA" airport, in Thessaloniki.
During the winter period, the squadron is in readiness for aerial fire fighting and rescue missions.
The squadron's main role is aerial firefighting, a very demanding task, especially during the filling-up of the water tanks from sea and during airdrops, taking into account that an airdrop takes place from an altitude of approximately 100 ft. In addition, the crews are continuously on alert at 15 minutes.
Apart from the aerial firefighting missions, readiness and SAR missions are carried out by the squadron. For the SAR missions, two rescue personnel are added to the crew and the airplane is equipped with a liferaft for picking up survivors.
In addition, the CL-415s also carry out light transport missions when the weather conditions allow such an activity, even during night hours, because of their advanced navigation systems. In this framework and because of their multi-purpose role (amphibious), the CL-415 airplanes are often used to transport the 31 Search & Rescue Operations Squadron and the Hellenic Navy Underwater Demolition Teams.
The CL-415MP airplanes are equipped with advanced electronic tracking systems (FLIR, Radar, SLAR) and also a navigator, a flight mechanic and rescue personnel are added to the crew.
The squadron's personnel are mainly pilots from the Air Force Academy, who are incorporated in the squadron's force after serving in fighter aircraft squadrons. Mechanics and navigators also participate in SAR missions.

 
The 383 Squadron apron
(Philippe Decock ©)
The 2053 waiting the next mission
(Philippe Decock ©)
The pilot office of the "Turbo Pelican"
(Philippe Decock ©)
The water thanks located in the fuselage
(Philippe Decock ©)
The rear side of the fuselage
(Philippe Decock ©)
The scooping system
(Philippe Decock ©)
Dump hatches
(Philippe Decock ©)
The rear access door and the HAF roundel
(Philippe Decock ©)
A Canadian commercial success
(Philippe Decock ©)
The 2049 preparing for a training mission
(Philippe Decock ©)
The 2053 take the sun
(Philippe Decock ©)
Start up
(Philippe Decock ©)
Another CL-415 is about to land in the background
(Philippe Decock ©)
Designed 50 years ago, it is still the only one in its category
(Philippe Decock ©)
Taxiing
(Philippe Decock ©)
Going to the holding point
(Philippe Decock ©)
Face to face with a pelican
(Philippe Decock ©)
Towing to the maintenance facilities
(Philippe Decock ©)
Scooping
(Courtesy Hellenic Air Force ©)
There we do not play anymore!
(Courtesy Hellenic Air Force ©)
Simply beautiful
(Courtesy Hellenic Air Force ©)
Follow his shadow
(Courtesy Hellenic Air Force ©)
A last scooping
(Courtesy Hellenic Air Force ©)
Back to base
(Courtesy Hellenic Air Force ©)
Short Final
(Philippe Decock ©)
Before the touch
(Philippe Decock ©)
The 2049 at landing, note the Douglas C-47A Skytrain in the background
(Philippe Decock ©)
Taxi back to the apron for the 2056
(Philippe Decock ©)
The 2049 for another run
(Philippe Decock ©)
Nose close up
(Philippe Decock ©)
Holding point RWY 34
(Philippe Decock ©)
Thessaloniki Airport is the second most important greek airport in terms 
of civilian air traffic after Athens
(Philippe Decock ©)
Ready for take off
(Philippe Decock ©)
Lift off
(Philippe Decock ©)
Short final
(Philippe Decock ©)
Full profile
(Philippe Decock ©)
Touch and go
(Philippe Decock ©)
A last final approach
(Philippe Decock ©)
Some foreing visitors: The Saudi Hawks aerobatic team
(Philippe Decock ©)
Mil Mi-8MTV-1 (RA-27172) 
(Philippe Decock ©)
Leaving Thessaloniki with a last view on a CL-415
(Philippe Decock ©)
 
Thessaloniki Wrecks and Relics
 
Northrop F-5B Fredom Fighter (01612)
(Philippe Decock ©)
Republic F-84F Thunderstreak (26866)
(Philippe Decock ©)
Northrop RF-5A Fredom Fighter (97167)
(Philippe Decock ©)
Mc Donnell-Douglas F-4E Phantom II (67345)
(Philippe Decock ©)
The aircraft wear the Hill Gray II camouflage from the mid 1990's
(Philippe Decock ©)
He has unfortunately lost some of his colours
(Philippe Decock ©)
Northrop F-5A Fredom Fighter (03069)
(Philippe Decock ©)
Northrop RF-5A Fredom Fighter (97173)
(Philippe Decock ©)
The very seyant Vietnam type camouflage
(Philippe Decock ©)
The three preserved beauties as conclusion of the SBAP visit and report
(Philippe Decock ©)
 

On behalf of SBAP, I would like to thank the Embassy of Belgium in Athens, the Hellenic Air Force General Staff, Thessaloniki Airbase Commanding Officer, the CL-415 crew who was my guide of the day and all the people I met during my visit for helping us in the realization of this report.

 

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