An Israel Air Force Apache helicopter lands across from a Greek mountain range during a joint Israel-Greece exercise with the Hellenic Air Force in October 2011.
(photo credit: IAF)
The Israel Air Force held a drill in Greece over the past two weeks in which Israeli transport helicopters simulated several types of missions in the Olympic mountain range.
Israeli CH-53 Sea Stallions and CH-60 Black Hawk squadrons, responsible for transporting units and inserting them into combat areas, evacuating soldiers and civilians, and conducting naval rescue operations took part in the exercise, together with helicopters from the Hellenic Air Force.
Flying through the Greek mountains and conducting mock missions in this rugged terrain enabled the IAF squadrons to simulate a “complex combat arena that is not available in Israel,” an IDF source said Sunday, adding that the Israeli aircraft landed and took off from Mount Olympus during the training.
In April 2015, the IAF completed a similar drill. According to IAF sources, experience gained in such drills can be used for short and long-range future missions.
Flight crews experience unknown terrain, as they would if they had to fly over some enemy territory.
Israel’s flat terrain offers limited opportunities for mountain training for IAF crews, while Greece’s 2,918-meter tall Mount Olympus allows aircraft to fly and hide in the challenging terrain.
In last year’s exercise, Apache attack helicopters as well as IAF Hercules and Super-Hercules transport planes took part. They were joined by Beechcraft King Air aerial intelligence aircraft.
Greek helicopter pilots have arrived in Israel for joint training as well in the past, while Hellenic Air Force pilots have taken part in Israel’s Blue Flag international air drill over southern Israel in 2015.