Stavros Ioannidis – SOURCE: cnn.gr
Tomorrow, on the day of the feast of the Archangel Michael, patron of the Air Force, the first two new Rafale F3Rs with serial numbers 450 and 451 are expected to land at the 114th Fighter Wing of Tanagra, where the “nest” of the 332nd Fighter Squadron is located ” Hawk”.
According to the plan of the General Air Staff, after entering the Athens FIR, the two brand new Rafales will make an honorary pass over the Dekelia Air Base in Tatoi where the memorial service will be held for the fallen airmen and then they will proceed to the Acropolis flying above the center of Athens.
After all, formations of fighter jets will make passes over all the major cities and islands, with the guards of the Aegean covering even the most remote areas of the country with their wings, sending a resounding message of deterrence.
With the addition of the two new Rafales to the Greek arsenal, the “Hawks” of the 332 Squadron increase to eight and by the end of the year they will reach 12. Their inclusion in service dramatically increases the operational capabilities of the Air Force while from the first day found in the skies of the Aegean, it became clear that air supremacy in the Archipelago is a Greek affair.
Rafales stand out not only for their flying characteristics but also for their unprecedented firepower. The combination of the Delta wing and the power provided by the two engines make the Rafale extremely maneuverable, while the AESA radar, sensors and weapons it has, place it at the top of the “predators” of the air.
The Greek “Ripes” are equipped with the “deadly” Meteor A/A missiles, the nightmare of every enemy aircraft since they deprive them of any possibility of survival with a No Escape Zone at 60 kilometers, but also the powerful MICA A/A missiles. They can also carry Exocet anti-ship missiles as well as Scalp strategic strike missiles and with the right configuration they can stay in the air for up to nine hours without refueling.
A first taste of the air battle of a Rafale with an opponent F-16, was taken by those who were present on Saturday morning in Flisvos. The new fighter of the Air Force found itself against the most reliable aircraft of the Greek arsenal with the result being more than impressive.
After all, such type of dogfights are now routine for the Greek pilots who test the limits and endurance of their aircraft every day, faithfully following the doctrine “we train as we will fight”.
The next six Rafales to complete the first contract are expected to arrive in Greece in Autumn 2023 and by Spring 2024, the Air Force will receive the six of the second contract, bringing the total to 24 fighters.