By Pierre Kosmidis
Photos by Leonidas Sboukis, submitted to www.ww2wrecks.com and used by permission
Exercise “INIOCHOS” is an annual medium scale exercise (type INVITEX) based on the facilities of the AIR TACTICS CENTER at the Andravida Air Base, located in the Northwest Peloponnese.
The duration of the exercise is 15 calendar days and operations make use of the majority of Athena FIR.
The Exercise scenario adopts a Single Base Concept (execution of operations from a single Air Base), with the participation of all branches of the Armed Forces.
The “INIOCHOS” Exercise was first conducted in the late 1980s, as a small scale tactical level exercise, tailored to the contemporary necessity for training in combined air operations in accordance with the Hellenic Air Force Doctrine.
Over the next years, the success of the exercise led to the decision on establishing it as an annual event.
The exercise objective was to train personnel in planning and execution of Combined Air Operations (COMAO) in accordance with the HAF Doctrine and National Plans in a realistic environment, in order to test and evaluate operational plans and tactics.
For the execution and conduction of the Exercise, the Hellenic Fighter Weapons School was deployed to Larissa, so as to form the White Cell in the facilities of the National Center for Air Operations.
The White Cell was responsible for the optimal coordination and planning of the operations, while participating Aircrafts were also deployed to Larissa, at 110CW, from where they launched for their missions.
In 2005, the Exercise was decentralized, thus the participating Aircrafts were operating from their mother bases, while the White Cell, the planning and the coordination were taking place in the Air Tactics Center and the Fighter Weapons School facilities, in Andravida Air Force Base, implementing newly acquired means of Command and Control.
In November 2013, the decision was made to adopt a Single Base Concept, upgrading the exercise scale to medium and expanding the spectrum of operations with the objective to create a more realistic and Demanding environment, with an intensive and prolonged 24/7 battle rhythm, significantly increasing the level of training.
In April 2015, the exercise is being held for the first time in the form of INVITEX (Invitation Exercise), with the participation of the IAF and the USAFE Special Forces (SOF) as JTAC.