Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Week at a Glance

Minister of Defence Venizelos in a speech hinted that the competition for the Air Force’s new Advanced Trainer Aircraft could be scrapped in order to save funds for the acquisition of new fighter aircraft. According to the minister a European initiative for pilot training could be the way forward. With this he means the Eurotraining programme which, if established, will probably be too late as the Greek Air Force’s T-2 trainer aircraft are already out dated and reaching end of life. See here.

The Greek Civil Aviation Authority approved a Turkish Search and Rescue Exercise in the Aegean. The exercise is to take place between the islands of Skyros, Lesvos and Psara. This area falls within the Athens FIR and the Greek area for responsibility for SAR operations. However, the Turkish side issued a NAVTEX saying: “SEARCH AND RESCUE (SAR) EXERCISE ON 29-30 APR 10,IN THE TURKISH SAR AREAS BOUNDED BY”. See here and here.

On the 22nd of Apil at midday an accident occurred with a Hellenic Air Force A-7E. The aircraft was struck by a bird while flying at an altitude of 3,000 feet. The impact destroyed the front left side of the canopy and injured the pilot. The pilot diverted to the Kalamata Air Training Base where he landed his aircraft. See here.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Hellenic Air Force Faces Severe Aircraft Availability Problem

Several articles have been written lately about the fact that the Greek Air Force is facing mounting problems with the availability of its combat aircraft. Poor planning and poor resource management have led to the Air Force’s two main types of fighter aircraft, the F-16 and Mirage 2000 fleet, being left without sufficient spares. On Saturday an article in “To Pontiki” newspaper mentioned that at this stage in time only 45% of Greece’s F-16 fleet is operational. Supposedly only 90 F-16 fighters are operational, out of a fleet of around 160.

Minister of Defence Venizelos is desperately trying to get about 160 to 170 million Euros released for the acquisition of vital spares. These spares should have been ordered years ago and follow on orders should have been carefully planned. The previous Minister of Defence, Meimarakis, bears a heavy responsibility in this matter as he neglected to tackle this issue when there was still time. Even if the contracts are signed today it will take a long time before availability will reach desirable levels.

The whole matter is outrageous on many levels. The Air Force is the first line of defence against Greece’s expansionist neighbour, Turkey. These fighter aircraft, training and infrastructure have cost the Greek tax payer billions. Their sacrifices are for nothing if the political leadership of the Ministry of Defence cannot keep the most self explanatory matters under control. It shows a total lack of disrespect for the tax payers and those chosen few having to scramble to intercept Turkish aggressors every day.

Friday, April 9, 2010

NATO Warship LIMNOS Disrupts Pirates

Greek warship HS LIMNOS, who is part of NATO’s counter piracy mission, codenamed OCEAN SHIELD, successfully intercepted and disrupted a pirate gang in the Indian Ocean yesterday.

The NATO warship had been on patrol to the north of the Seychelles when pirates in a large whaler towing 2 smaller skiffs, was spotted by a Swedish maritime patrol aircraft. As HS LIMNOS approached the vessel, the ship’s helicopter was launched and observed the pirates throwing weapons, ladders and other piracy equipment into the sea.
On arrival, the ship’s boarding party rapidly took control of the 10 pirates. A thorough search of the boats was then conducted to ensure the pirates could no longer pose a threat to merchant shipping in the area.

HS LIMNOS Operations officer, Lt P Sarantinos GRN said, “Being vigilant, decisive, and adaptive – these are the fundamental pillars of our operations in this area. NATO is determined to deter and disrupt the pirate threat and HS LIMNOS is ready to prove it, wherever and whenever it is required.”

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Today's Airspace Violations

DefenceNet reports that the Turkish Air Force entered the Aegean with 16 aircraft today. Of the 16 aircraft 8 were armed. The formations breached Greek airspace 4 times. The activity took place in the northern and central Aegean.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Macedonian Names of 14th Century reveal the Greek Character of Macedonia

Examination of Macedonian Names of 14th Century in the Themes of Thessalonike and Strymon reveals the Greek Character of Macedonia.

THE study of names can tell us a great deal about a society, for names are primarily a means of social identification. People identify themselves or are identified by others in ways which may reveal kinship patterns, migration movements, economic differentiation or social stratification, superstitious beliefs. Children may habitually be named after the paternal or maternal grandparents, after parents or Siblings. Names may show adherence to a religion or to superstition: the Byzantine parents who named their children Aporicto or Evreto (“rejected” and “founding”) were trying to deceive death, while a man named Prousenos testified to his parents’ nostalgia for a lost homeland in Asia Minor. Proper or family names which continue over more than one generation can show the interest of the family itself or of the state in identifying people over time.

The Byzantine peasants in Macedonia of the fourteenth century were commonly identified by a baptismal or given name and some other form of identification: a profession, an indication of geographical origin, a nickname, or an indication of relationship to someone else. Both the given names and the “family” names are of interest here.

Some names are very common. Men are often named Nikolaos, Demetrios, Konstantinos, Ioannes, Vasileios, Michael, Manouel, Stamates, Theodoros. Somewhat less frequent are the names Modestos, Nikephoros, Theiotokios, Kyriakos, Foteinos, Athanasios, Petros, Alexios, Stefanos, Xenos. Most of these, with the exception of Xenos, Alexios, Modestos and Foteinos, are also common modern Greek names. On the other hand, Evangelos and Eleutherios, which occur frequently in modern Greece, are rare in the fourteenth century.

Women were most often called Maria and Anna (as in modern Greece), Zoe, Arete, Chryse, Argyre, Kale, Theodora, Eirene, Xene, Eudokia, Elene, Georgia, and less frequently Vasilike, Ioannousa, Kyriakia, Rossana or Rossa, Siligno, Sophia, Foteine, Theophano, Stammatike, and Marina. The name Aikaterine, one of the commonest modern Greek names, is very rarely encountered.Some Christian names are very similar to those found among the peasants of the Morea in the same period. They fall into three categories:

(1) Those referring to God, the Virgin, and Christ;

(2) Saints’ names; and

(3) Those deriving from feasts of the Christian calendar.