Cyprus Air Forces
|Air Command of Cyprus|
Διοίκηση Αεροπορίας Κύπρου
|Size||20 Helicopters, 2 Systems of UAVs and 2 Fixed Wing|
|Part of||Cypriot National Guard|
|Βrigadier general Gabriel Dimitriou|
|Air Wing Roundel|
|Low visibility Air Wing Roundel|
The Cyprus Air Command (Greek: Διοίκησης Αεροπορίας Κύπρου, Turkish: Kıbrıs Hava Kuvvetleri) is the armed air wing of the National Guard. This force does not have any fixed wing combat aircraft, but is equipped with attack and anti-tank helicopters, surface-to-air missile and integrated radar systems, as well as Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV).
Current Air Force organization
As of 2012 the Cyprus Air Force consists of two helicopter-squadrons along with a UAV squadron equipped with IAI Searcher 2 unmanned aerial vehicles. The Cyprus Air Force also possesses a Search and Rescue Coordination Centre, which is due to equip with its own aircraft. Note that the aircraft of the Cyprus Police operate under a separate command-structure during peacetime.
- 449th Antitank Helicopter Squadron (Μοίρα Αντιαρματικών Ελικοπτέρων)
- 450th Helicopter Squadron (Μοίρα Ελικοπτέρων)
- UAV Squadron
- Search & Rescue Coordination Centre (Κέντρο Συντονισμού Έρευνας – Διάσωσης)
Air Force bases and stations
- Papandreou AFB, Paphos
- The primary air base of the Cyprus Air Force, this base adjacent to the Paphos International Airport has runway, taxiway, hardened aircraft-shelters and integrated command, control and communication facilities. Papandreou AFB also houses a small helicopter overhaul and maintenance facility. As Cyprus operates no aircraft is supposed shelters would be used by Greek Air Force planes in case of war or crisis.
- Lakatamia AFB, Nicosia
- The reserve air base of the Cyprus Air Force lies just south of the Cypriot capital of Nicosia. The base rarely hosts fixed-wing aircraft, and simply serves as a staging-post for helicopters operating in and out of the Nicosia area.
- Troodos Stations
- The Troodos Mountains, the highest range in Cyprus, host a number of radar and air-defence facilities. Their unit designations and deployment status are not made public.
Note: In an emergency, Cypriot military and paramilitary aircraft can operate from Paphos and Larnaca international airports, as well as from prepared stretches of motorway equipped with landing zones and with paved operating-areas.
Emblem of 450th Helicopter Squadron.
Emblem of Search & Rescue Coordination Centre.
|Mi-35||Attack Helicopter||Mil Mi-35P "Black Panther"||11||450 Sqd 1st detachment||Paphos||12 delivered, 1 lost in accident in 2006. Major upgrade was planned in 2010 for the addition of night capability and self-defensive systems but this has been delayed for the foreseeable future.|
|Gazelle||Anti-tank Helicopter||SA-342L1 Gazelle||4||450 Sqd 1st detachment||Paphos||4 currently active.|
|Bell 206||Utility Helicopter||Bell-206L3 Long Ranger||2||449 Sqd 2nd detachment||Lakatamia||3 procured in 1990 (2 equipped to carry 75mm rocket pods and 1 as Government VIP version). One aircraft lost in 2002.|
|AW139||Search and Rescue Helicopter||AW139||3||460 Sqd||Paphos||3 aircraft ordered for CSAR role. Requested fully night capable with armour. All three arrived on 12 March 2011.|
|Pilatus PC-9||Training Aircraft||Pilatus PC-9M||1||450 Sqd 2nd detachment||Paphos||2 procured in 1989 with armaments. 1 lost in accident in 2005.|
|Britten-Norman Defender||Utility aircraft||BN.2B-21 Maritime Defender||1||460 Sqd||Paphos||Procured in 1984 with 12.7mm cannon pods, radar and target towing capability.|
Current air-defence inventory
|9M330 Tor||Surface-to-air missile||TOR-M1||6||First batch of 6 via Greece delivered by 2000. Second batch from Russia was due in 2011, but the status of this batch is not currently known.|
|9K37 BUK||Surface-to-air missile||Unknown||20||Reported to have been procured circa 2006/2007 via Greece in BUK-M1 and / or BUK-M1-2 variants. Not confirmed.|
|Aspide-330||Surface-to-air missile||Aspide-330||24||High velocity semi-active radar homing "O" ("Othello") variant with range 18 km, used with four-cell TELARs in conjunction with Contraves Skyguard system. First batch of 12 in the 1980s, second batch of 12 in 2006. Circa 200 missiles.|
|Matra Mistral||Surface-to-air missile||Mistral Tranche 2||30||Supplied as "Alamo" version, self-propelled VSHORADS on all-terrain vehicle with separate radar system.|
|Oerlikon 35 mm twin cannon||Anti-aircraft gun||GDF-005||30||Used in conjunction with Skyguard and Aspide systems.|
Inventory formerly used or embargoed
|S-300 PMU1||Surface-to-air missile||S-300 PMU1||2||Delivered in 1998, and then transferred to Crete (Hellenic Air Force) the same year due to political considerations.|
Aerial incidents between Cyprus and Turkey
Paphos Incident – 22 October 2000
On 22 October 2000, TOR-M1 air-defence batteries operated by the Cyprus National Guard at Papandreou Air Base tracked a pair of Turkish warplanes detected approaching the air base by "locking-on" to them The action of engaging the Turkish aircraft with radar forced the warplanes to retreat from the area, as Greek Cypriot and Greek forces conducted joint military manoeuvres in the Paphos region. The incident prompted an angry outburst from the Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktaş, who was reported in the media to have condemned the radar lock-on as a provacation that could lead to war.
Paphos Incident – 5 April 2002
It was variously reported in the Cyprus media that combat radars of the Cyprus National Guard, based at Papandreou Air Base in Paphos, had tracked two Turkish F-16 warplanes at 11am on 5 April 2002, by "locking-on" to them. The two Turkish aircraft were reported to have incurred into the Nicosia Flight Information Region and then passed directly over the Greek Cypriot air base at an altitude of 3500 feet. Upon realising that they were being tracked, the two Turkish aircraft reportedly turned back towards Turkey, and then returned to their airbase.
- Armoured vehicles of the Cypriot National Guard
- Cypriot National Guard
- Cyprus Joint Rescue Coordination Center
- Military Equipment of Cyprus
- Cyprus National Guard Official website (Air Force section – in Greek)
- Cyprus Air Force
- Cyprus National Guard, Air Force Command
- Tom Cooper "Cyprus, 1955–1973", ACIG Journal
- Tom Cooper & Nicholas Tselepidis "Cyprus 1974", ACIG Journal
- Air Defence of Cyprus (in Greek)