Author: Ian French
Photography: Ian French & Hellenic Air Force
116 Pteriga Machis (Combat Wing), moto “Bold beyond our powers”, was established in 1962 at Araxos as 116 Combat Group with a single squadron, 336 Mira which transferred from Nea Anchialos the same year. It was redesignated 116 Combat Wing in 1969. 339 Mira joined briefly in 1974 while runway work was undertaken at Andravida. Finally, 335 Mira relocated to Araxos in 1977 from Tanagra.
The F-84 fleets that equipped the wing from its formation were replaced by the F-104G Starfighter from 1964 with 37 new examples being delivered. These were supplemented by nine ex Spanish aircraft in 1972 and 60 ex German and Dutch aircraft from 1978.
In 1992 the F-104 Starfighter began to be replaced by the A-7 Corsair and this was completed by 1994 and Araxos became the A-7 base! In total 60 new built A-7H and five TA-7H were delivered. The A-7H was essentially a modified A-7E but without air-refueling capability. The A-7H fleet was later augmented by deliveries of surplus US Navy aircraft in 1992: 50 A-7Es and 18 TA-7Cs.
Further fleet reorganisation took place in 2001 with all A-7E being assigned to 335 Mira and all A-7H to 336 Mira. The A-7H was retired in 2007 and all remaining A-7s were transferred to 336 Mira and 335 Mira re-equipped with the F-16 Fighting Falcon. The A-7 was eventually retired in 2014 and 335 Mira converted to the F-16 and the wing became an all F-16 unit.
335 Mira Vomvardamou (Fighter Bomber Squadron)
335 MV (“Tigers”) was established in 1941 at Akir, Palestine and relocated to Sedes after World War II. It is the oldest Hellenic Air Force squadron. It transferred to 111 PM at Nea Anchialos in 1953, to 110 PM at Larissa in 1957, 114 PM at Tanagra in 1960 and finally to 116 PM at Araxos in 1977.
Aircraft operated (jet era): F-84G 1953-1960, RT-33A 1953-1960, F-84F 1957-1965, F-104G 1965-1992, A-7 1993-2008 & F-16 from 2008.
336 Mira Vomvardamou (Fighter Bomber Squadron)
336 MV (“Mount Olympus”) was established in 1943 at Cairo, Egypt and was relocated to Sedes following the end of World War II. It transferred to 110 PM at Larissa in 1949, 111 PM at Nea Anchialos in 1953, 116 PM at Araxos in 1962, 114 PM at Tanagra in 1965 and back to 116 PM at Araxos in 1966.
Aircraft operated (jet era): F-84G 1953-1958, F-84F 1958-1965, F-104 1965-1993, A-7 1993-2014 & F-16 from 2015
358MED operates a SAR detachment at many bases. The parent unit’s home base is Elefsis.
Aviation Press would like to thank the Defence Section of the British Embassy, Athens and the Hellenic Air Force for their assistance with the visit