Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Another Tense Day Expected in the Aegean


DefenceNet reports that yesterday 14 Turkish fighter aircraft breached Greek airspace. The complete formation consisted of 16 aircraft of which half were armed. The activity took place across the entire Aegean. Today a Greek exercise will commence in the area between Mykonos, Ikaria and Fournoi which Turkey has also tried to reserve for its own exercises. It will be interesting to see how the opposing forces will interact today.

Also, the NOTAM battle continues with the Greek Civil Aviation Authority issuing a new NOTAM with which it nullifies the Turkish NOTAMs:

A0084/10 - REF (A) GREEK NOTAM A0061/10 LGGGYNYX
REF (B) GREEK NOTAM A2435/09 AND A2441/09 LGGGYNYX
REF (C) TURKISH NOTAM A0184/10 LTAAYNYX (151208 EUECYIYN JAN 2010)
NAVIGATIONAL WARNING TO ALL CONCERNED:
THIS NOTAM IS ISSUED TO STATE THAT THE REF (C) TURKISH NOTAM A0184/10 LTAAYNYX IS NULL AND VOID SINCE IT REFERS TO TURKISH MILITARY ACTIVITIES WITHIN ATHINAI FIR, WHERE THE ONLY COMPETENT AUTHORITY TO PROMULGATE NOTAMS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE INTERNATIONAL RULES AND REGULATIONS IS THE HELLENIC CAA THROUGH THE HELLENIC ATS, AIS UNITS. FURTHERMORE THE HELLENIC POSITIONS REGARDING THE SAID MILITARY ACTIVITIES, WHICH HAD BEEN ANNOUNCED BY TURKISH NOTAM A3914/09, HAVE ALREADY BEEN EXPRESSED IN OUR REF (B) NOTAMS A2435/09 AND A2441/09 LGGGYNYX, THEY REMAIN UNCHANGED AND ARE THE ONLY VALID AND EFFECTIVE WITHIN ATHINAI FIR, AS WELL AS OUR REF (A) NOTAM A0061/10 LGGGYNYX). 19 JAN 05:00 2010 UNTIL 21 JAN 08:30 2010. CREATED: 18 JAN 08:27 2010

The Turkish side immediately reacted with the following NOTAM:

A0216/10 (Issued for LTBB LGGG) - REFERENCE (A)TURKISH WARNING NOTAM A3914/09
REFERENCE (B)TURKISH WARNING NOTAM A0184/10
REFERENCE (C) GREEK WARNING NOTAM A0061/10 LGGGYNYX
REFERENCE (D) GREEK WARNING NOTAM A0084/10 LGGGYNYX
NAVIGATIONAL WARNING TO ALL CONCERNED:
THE VIEWS EXPRESSED IN TURKISH NAVIGATIONAL WARNING NOTAMS IN REF  (A) AND REF (B) WITH RESPECT TO TURKISH FIRING TASMO EXERCIS WITHIN INTERNATIONAL AIRSPACE REMAIN UNCHANGED AND THE NOTAMS IN REF (A) AND REF (B) ARE EFFECTIVE. THE GREEK NOTAMS IN REF (C) AND REF (D) ARE NULL AND VOID. TURKEY ALSO WOULD LIKE TO UNDERLINWE THAT NO FURTHER EXPLANATION WILL BE GIVEN TO ANY OBJECTION RAISED TO TURKISH WARNING NOTAMS A3914/09 AND A0184/10. SFC - FL999, 19 JAN 05:00 2010 UNTIL 21 JAN 08:30 2010. CREATED: 18 JAN 12:44 2010

In related news it has been reported that the Air Force General Staff is proposing that two out of three Forward Operating Bases will no longer be used for cost cutting reasons. These two will be Kastelli and Skyros. The Limnos FOB will survive the cost cuts due to its location.

If the Skyros FOB will indeed cease to operate Tanagra (114CW) and Anchialos (111CW) will take over alert duties. Likewise, the 115th Combat Wing in Souda will take over for the Kastelli FOB. What needs to carefully be considered in these decisions is the increased distance of the main bases to the area of operations compared to the FOBs. This will result in smaller “on station” times while carrying out patrols.

The changes can work as long as there is enough time for interceptor aircraft to reach the areas where airspace violations occur as the advance warning time of approaching aircraft from the east is around 30 minutes.

HDN note: We find it hard to believe that a base as important as the one on Skyros will be abandoned. This is one of the most important bases in the Hellenic Air Force due to its location and infrastructure. Also, any money saved from not using it will likely be lost on increased flight times needed from other (main) bases.

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