Hellenic Air Force (HAF) fighters conducted a joint training operation with the Marine Nationale’s (French Navy's) Task Force 473 (TF 473) escort group, led by France’s flagship aircraft carrier, FS Charles de Gaulle (R91), from November 23-25.
This joint training exercise – which was conducted in the maritime area of the South Ionian Sea, to both the east and south of the Peloponnese and south of the Greek island of Crete – was performed to enhance the international cooperation, operational readiness, interoperability and combat capabilities between the participating nations and their respective air arms.
The exercise marked a major milestone for the HAF’s new and growing Rafale EG/DG (F3R) fleet, as it participated in a joint training exercise for the first time since the type was integrated into Greek service in January 2022. In addition, the HAF also participated with F-16C/D Block 30/50/52+ Fighting Falcon fighters and F-4E (AUP) Phantom II fighter-bombers. Operating from Charles de Gaulle, Rafale Ms and E-2C Hawkeye 2000 airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft from the Aéronautique Navale (French Fleet Air Arm) also took part in the joint training operation.
During the exercise, the participating French and Greek fighters conducted Offensive Counter-Air (OC-A); High Value Airborne Asset (HVAA) Attack/Protect; Joint Engagement Zone (JEZ); Dissimilar Air Combat Training (DACT) and Air Power Contribution to Maritime Ops (APCMO) missions. They also visited the Karavia Shooting Range – located on a Greek island near Crete – for live-fire training.