Special forces units from Greece, the US, and Israel were among others participating in the “Orion 22” exercise that kicked off on Thursday near Athens.
Personnel from the armed forces of Bulgaria, France, and Cyprus also participate in the drill. Representatives from Egypt, Austria, and Montenegro are observers.
The exercise which coincides with the Iniochos 2022 drill, also taking place in Greece, aims at assisting the interoperability of the forces in tasks such as the penetration into an enemy area with a free fall jump, artillery fire guidance, and sniper tactics.
“It is really impressive to see the growth in the complexity of this Orion exercise,” US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt said, referring to the execution of realistic and very demanding combat scenarios.
“Greece has a unique ability to serve as a multiplier of stability in the East Mediterranean. The ability to reinforce and build flexibility in our alliance is more important than ever as we respond jointly to the threat represented by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” Pyatt asserts.
Pyatt added: “It is impressive to see the way in which the Hellenic Armed Forces has been able to deepen its partnership with the US Special Forces, including the SEALS who also take part in the exercise.”
Congratulations to @ChiefHNDGS General Floros and the Hellenic special forces community on the impressive success of exercise Orion 2022, and thanks to @US_SOCEUR for the investment in building capacity and interoperability with our 🇬🇷 allies in so many areas. pic.twitter.com/AlqPzvbb53
— Geoffrey Pyatt (@USAmbPyatt) April 7, 2022
1,900 soldiers participate in Orion and Iniochos military exercises
A total of 1,900 personnel are involved in the exercises “Iniochos 2022” and “Orion 22” on Greek soil.
Air forces from nine countries, including the US, France, and Israel are currently taking part in the annual Iniochos exercise in Greece, simulating airstrikes, evading air defenses, and carrying out search and rescue ops.
In the exercise which began on March 28th and is scheduled to last through April 8th, air forces from Canada, Italy, Cyprus, Slovenia, and Austria are also participating.
Egypt, Albania, Austria, North Macedonia, the United Kingdom, India, Kuwait, Croatia, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia have sent observers to the drill.
Pyatt expressed “his pride” in the fact that there was participation from so many different elements of the U.S. Armed Forces, including the F-15s from Lakenheath Air Base, the F-18s flying off the Harry Truman, and an MQ-9 flying from Sigonella in Italy.
Iniochos, which was first conducted in the late 1980s as a small-scale tactical-level exercise, has become an annual event in the Hellenic Armed Forces training schedule.
U.S., French aircraft carriers deployed off Greece
The drills take place while US and French naval forces, led by two aircraft carriers, have been deployed in the Aegean off Greece.
The USS Harry Truman has been conducting exercises in the northern Aegean Sea and the Ionian Sea since the beginning of March while the French ship Charles de Gaulle has moored at the port of Piraeus south of Athens.