Cyprus Air Forces

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Air Command of Cyprus
Διοίκηση Αεροπορίας Κύπρου
Cyprus-roundel low.svg
Cyprus Air Forces roundel
Active 1200
Country  Cyprus
Branch Air force
Role Aerial warfare
Size 20 Helicopters, 2 Systems of UAVs and 2 Fixed Wing
Part of Cypriot National Guard
Commanders
Current
commander
Βrigadier general Gabriel Dimitriou
Insignia
Fin Flash Flag of Cyprus.svg

The Cyprus Air Command (Greek: Διοίκησης Αεροπορίας Κύπρου, Turkish: Kıbrıs Hava Kuvvetleri) is the armed air wing of the National Guard. This force is equipped with attack and anti-tank helicopters, surface-to-air missile systems and integrated radar systems.

Current Air Force organization

The Cyprus Air Force consists of two aircraft squadrons[1]. The Cyprus Air Force is also integrated with a Joint Search and Rescue Coordination Centre, based in Larnaca [2]. Note that the aircraft of the Cyprus Police operate under a separate command-structure during peacetime.

  • 450th Helicopter Squadron (450ME) [3]
  • 460th Helicopter Squadron (460MED) [3]
  • Search & Rescue Coordination Centre (Κέντρο Συντονισμού Έρευνας – Διάσωσης)

Air Force bases and stations

  • Andreas Papandreou AFB, Paphos (ACTIVE)
The primary air base of the Cyprus Air Force, this base adjacent to the Paphos International Airport has runway, taxiway, hardened aircraft-shelters and integrated command, control and communication facilities.
  • Lakatamia AFB, Nicosia (CLOSED)
The reserve air base of the Cyprus Air Force lay just south of the Cypriot capital of Nicosia. The base rarely hosted fixed-wing aircraft, and simply served as a staging-post for helicopters operating in and out of the Nicosia area. The base is now closed and its resident 449 MAE aircraft squadron disbanded.
  • Troodos Stations (ACTIVE)
The Troodos Mountains, the highest range in Cyprus, host a number of radar and air-defence facilities. Their unit designations and deployment status are not made public.

Note: In an emergency, Cypriot and allied military aircraft can operate from Paphos and Larnaca international airports, as well as from prepared stretches of motorway equipped with landing zones and with paved operating-areas.


Equipment

Aircraft

A Cypriot AW139 helicopter departs the USS Stout
Aircraft Origin Type Variant In service Notes
Transport
Britten-Norman BN-2 United Kingdom transport / utility BN-2B-21[1] 1[4]
Helicopters
Bell 206 United States utility 206L 2[3]
Mil Mi-24 Russia attack Mi-24 11[4]
Aérospatiale Gazelle France scout / patrol 342 4[4]
AgustaWestland AW139 Italy SAR / utility 3[4]
Trainer Aircraft
Pilatus PC-9 Switzerland trainer / attack PC-9M 1[3]
A Tor-M1 surface to air missile system

Air Defense

Name Origin Type In service Notes
SAM (Short Range)
9K331 Tor M1 Russia mobile SAM system 1 battery / 6 self-propelled firing units[5]
Aspide Italy SAM system 3 batteries / 12 modular firing units [5] 130 live rounds[5]
SAM (Medium Range)
9K37M1-2 Buk M1-2 Russia mobile SAM system 3 batteries / 21 self-propelled firing units [6][7]
Anti Aircraft Artillery
Oerlikon GDF Switzerland anti-aircraft 30[5] towed 35mm anti-aircraft gun
Zastava M55A3 Serbia anti-aircraft 50 towed 20mm anti-aircraft gun

Aerial incidents between Cyprus and Turkey

Paphos Incident – 22 October 2000

On 22 October 2000, TOR-M1 air-defence batteries operated by the Cyprus National Guard at Papandreou Air Base tracked a pair of Turkish warplanes detected approaching the air base by "locking-on" to them [8] The action of engaging the Turkish aircraft with radar forced the warplanes to retreat from the area, as Greek Cypriot and Greek forces conducted joint military manoeuvres in the Paphos region. The incident prompted an angry outburst from the Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktaş, who was reported in the media to have condemned the radar lock-on as a provocation that could lead to war.[9]

Paphos Incident – 5 April 2002

It was variously reported in the Cyprus media [8] that combat radars of the Cyprus National Guard, based at Papandreou Air Base in Paphos, had tracked two Turkish F-16 warplanes at 11am on 5 April 2002, by "locking-on" to them. The two Turkish aircraft were reported to have incurred into the Nicosia Flight Information Region and then passed directly over the Greek Cypriot air base at an altitude of 3500 feet. Upon realising that they were being tracked, the two Turkish aircraft reportedly turned back towards Turkey, and then returned to their airbase.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "Cyprus Air Command". Aeroflight. 9 April 2016. 
  2. ^ "Cyprus Joint Rescue Coordination Centre - JRCC". 
  3. ^ a b c d "Cyprus Air Force". Aeroflight. Retrieved 2018-05-08. 
  4. ^ a b c d "World Air Forces 2018". Flightglobal Insight. 2018. Retrieved 4 December 2017. 
  5. ^ a b c d Trade Registers. Armstrade.sipri.org. Retrieved on 14 December 2017.
  6. ^ "The Cypriot Missile Crisis". geimint.blogspot.co.uk. Retrieved 2018-05-08. 
  7. ^ "Cyprus unveiling new «secret» Air Defense Systems during the national military parade". Defencegreece (in Greek). 2017-10-08. Retrieved 2018-05-08. 
  8. ^ a b "Radars 'lock on to Turkish F-16s'" By Jean Christou, Cyprus Mail, 7 April 2002
  9. ^ Alex Efty (24 October 2000). "Denktash Warns of War Risk". The Independent. 

Sources

  • Cyprus National Guard Official website (Air Force section – in Greek)
  • Cyprus Air Force
  • Cyprus National Guard, Air Force Command
  • Tom Cooper "Cyprus, 1955–1973", ACIG Journal
  • Tom Cooper & Nicholas Tselepidis "Cyprus 1974", ACIG Journal
  • Air Defence of Cyprus (in Greek)[permanent dead link]
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