Cyprus Air Forces

Air Command of Cyprus
Διοίκηση Αεροπορίας Κύπρου
Active 12,963
Country  Cyprus
Branch Air Force
Size 20 Helicopters, 2 Systems of UAVs and 2 Fixed Wing
Part of Cypriot National Guard
Βrigadier general Gabriel Dimitriou
Fin Flash
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.

Air Force bases and stations

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.
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.
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.

Aircraft inventory

Aircraft Photo Origin Type Versions In service[1] Squadron Base Notes
Mi-35RussiaAttack HelicopterMil Mi-35P "Black Panther"11450 Sqd 1st detachmentPaphos 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.
GazelleFranceAnti-tank HelicopterSA-342L1 Gazelle4450 Sqd 1st detachmentPaphos 4 currently active.
Bell 206
United States
Utility HelicopterBell-206L3 Long Ranger2449 Sqd 2nd detachmentLakatamia 3 procured in 1990 (2 equipped to carry 75mm rocket pods and 1 as Government VIP version). One aircraft lost in 2002.
ItalySearch and Rescue HelicopterAW1393460 Sqd Paphos3 aircraft ordered for CSAR role. Requested fully night capable with armour. All three arrived on 12 March 2011.
Pilatus PC-9
Training AircraftPilatus PC-9M1450 Sqd 2nd detachmentPaphos 2 procured in 1989 with armaments. 1 lost in accident in 2005.
Britten-Norman DefenderUnited KingdomUtility aircraftBN.2B-21 Maritime Defender1460 SqdPaphosProcured in 1984 with 12.7mm cannon pods, radar and target towing capability.

Current air-defence inventory

System Photo Origin Type Versions In service Notes
9M330 Tor
Surface-to-air missileTOR-M16First 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 missileUnknown20Reported to have been procured circa 2006/2007 via Greece in BUK-M1 and / or BUK-M1-2 variants. Not confirmed.
Surface-to-air missileAspide-33024High 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 missileMistral Tranche 230 Supplied as "Alamo" version, self-propelled VSHORADS on all-terrain vehicle with separate radar system.
Oerlikon 35 mm twin cannon
Anti-aircraft gunGDF-00530Used in conjunction with Skyguard and Aspide systems.

Inventory formerly used or embargoed

System Photo Origin Type Versions In service Notes
S-300 PMU1
Surface-to-air missileS-300 PMU12 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 [2] 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.[3]

Paphos Incident – 5 April 2002

It was variously reported in the Cyprus media [2] 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.

See also


  1. "World Air Forces 2013". Flightglobal. 2013. Retrieved 7 May 2013.
  2. 1 2 "Radars 'lock on to Turkish F-16s'" By Jean Christou, Cyprus Mail, 7 April 2002
  3. Alex Efty (24 October 2000). "Denktash Warns of War Risk". The Independent.


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