The Northrop F-5 Enthusiast Page  -  Home


 Πολεμική Αεροπορία /Polemiki AeroporiaHellenic Air Force


    Credit: Roundels of the World

                                        Last update 06-06-2022

                   Pterix Mahis                           / Combat Wing
                   Mira Dioseos Bombardismoy       / Fighter-Bomber Squadron
                   Mira Taktikis Anagnoriseos        / Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron

                   Mira Angatiseos Imeras            / Day Intercept Squadron
Σμήνους Μετεκπαίδευσης / Sminos Metekpedephsis (SMET) / Operational Converion Unit
Following units received Freedom Fighters, shown in re-equipment sequence with their F-5 operation history:

                                                110th Wing                     111th Wing                         113th Wing                     115th Wing
                                            Nea Anchialos AB                 Larissa AB                            Mikra AB                         Souda AB -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The original statutory strength was 16 single and 2 double-seaters but the number varied later very much, due to attrition (kown losses: 24 F-5A, 3 RF-5A, 4 F-5B till its retirement) and aging of the airframes with consequent withdrawal from use

341st Squadron   "Assos / Ace"
The 341st Day Intercept Squadron, 111 Combat Wing at Nea Anchialos, was equipped with Canadair F-86E Mk2 when it officially received its 16 Northrop F-5A and 2 Northrop F-5B on June 17th 1965, transitiong as first unit on the Nothrop fighter. It was declared operational at the end of the same year (the first NATO Northrop F-5 equipped) having day interception as primary and close support as secondary role. Its roles changed to close support/day interception in June 1971 and back to day interception/close support in 1975; additionally in worked as an Operational Conversion Unit (SMET) for young pilots.


                                                                  Northrop F-5A-30 69142, 341st Squadron, at Istrana AB (Italy) in June 1970.
                                                                                                                            Photo: Archive The Northrop F-5 Enthusiast

             Northrop F-5A-15 38405 at Istrana AB in June 1970. In the background F-5A-30 69135                          Northrop F-5A-40 89054 341st Squadron seen at Istrana in July 1973.
           still in metallic colours of the "New Hellenicin Flame" acrobatic Team.               Photos : Archive The Northrop F-5 Enthusiast

      Photo: Archive The Northrop F-5 Enthusiast
                                                 Northrop F-5B 69230 at Cervia AB on 01-08-84 in exchange tour with Italian Fiat G-91R, 2 Stormo

The Squadron was disbanded in August 1993, its aircrafts were transferred to the 343rd Squadron; the unit was reactivated on 30-03-98 with the arrival of new General Dynamics F-16C/D Block 50.

343rd Squadron   "Asteri / Star"

    The 343rd All Weather Intercept Squadron gave up its North American F-86D beginning March 1966 to re-equip with Freedom Fighters, to be reclassified as an Day Intercept
    Squadron with secondary role of air-to-ground strike. It was fully equipped by spring 1967,  having close-support as secondary duty. 
    Following restructuring of the Hellenic AF it was transferred in July 1974 to the 113 Combat Wing at Mikra AB until June 1985, when it returned to  the Nea Anchialos based
    Combat Wing,
moving definitely back to Mikra AB in July 1987.

    The year 1993 saw the arrival of 10 Canadair NF-5A and 1 Canadair NF-5B formerly in use by the 349th Squadron and the concentration of all variants (F-5A, RF-5A, F-5B) in this unit,
    withdrawal of the Canadairs starting already in 1997.

    The Northrop Fighter, though its main role was close-support, was armed with AIM-9P3, Sidewinders to provide an improved interception capability, after an incident at the end of 1997,
    when Turkish F-16s chased a transport aircraft with the Greek Defence Minister on board. They were driven away by an F-5 patrol from Mikra AB.
    The Squadron was on constant alert for daylight interception of foreign aircrafts, particularly Turkish, introducing into Greek, or disputed, air-space; Turkish F-10G, F-104S, F-4E, RF-4E,
    F-16C, F-16D fighters and S-2E Trackers and some helicopters were intercepted in addition to US Navy and Marines F-14, P-3 Orions and CH-53 helicopters
during its stay at Mikra AB.

                        Beautiful line-up of AIMP-9P3 Sidewinders armed Northrop F-5As, ready to depart.                           Northrop F-5A-25 10480 in F-16 colours seen in April 1996.
                                                                                                                Photo: unknown                                                                                        
Photo: Archive The Northrop F-5 Enthusiast

                                                                                       Photo: Archive The Northrop F-5 Enthusiast
                                                                    Former Jordanian Northrop F-5 stil in desert camouflage seen at Thessaloniki/Mikra AB in 1996

                                 frame 1
              Northrop F-5B-10 6413377 at Grazzanise AB (Italy) 17-06-97; camouflage Europe 2.                                              F-5B 13378 at Mikra in 1993 in F-16 camouflage
              In background  F-5s in various camouflages.                                   Photos: Archive The Northrop F-5 Enthusiast

The Squadron was disbanded on 29 March 2001, contemporaneously to the official retirement of the Freedom Fighter from Greek use. Reformed at Souda AB (Creta) on 21-07-03 it received the latest Lockheed- Martin F-16C and F-16D Block 52+. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

337th Squadron   "Φάντασμα / Fantasma / Ghost"

  On 31-05-67 the 337th All-Weather Fighter Squadron, equipped with North American F-86D Sabre, attached to the 112 Combat Wing, ended its operation and started conversion on the F-5 as
  Day Intercept Squadron
  An selective embargo on armament delivery, imposed by the US government due to a military coup in Greece on 21-04-67, blocked re-equipment. Two flights were established as a provisional
, one fully operational on the North American F-86D     as  above, the other training on F-5s at the 111th Combat Wing.

 Anyhow, the  337th Day Interception Squadron was re-established on 16-11-67, deliveries of Freedom Fighters starting again in late 1968 when the embargo was cancelled; the Squadron could
 be declared operational at the end of June 1969. Its  pilots manned from July 1967 the Greek aerobatic team: the New Hellenic Flame with 5 Northrop F-5As. Unfortunately, the team performed
 only 2 apperances, disbanding later.

            Photo: unknown
                                                          Northrop F-5A 69135 seen at
Istrana AB in June 1970 in "New Hellenic Flames " colours.

The end as an F-5 unit came on 31-03-78, when it was disbanded, to be reformed on 07-09-78 flying McDonnell F-4Es. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

349th Squadron       "Kronos / Phoenix" changed to "Cronos / Kronos" after the Cyprus war

    The Squadron was equipped in November 1970 as 336 Squadron with Republic F-84F fighter-bombers at Larissa AB  with the 110th Combat Wing when it started conversion on 20-12-70 to
    17 Northrop RF-5A, 
changing its role to reconnaissance at Nea Anchialos. This was
shared with the 348th Reconnaissance Squadron's Republic RF-84F, but still  keeping close support as a
    secondary role.

    The Squadron won the NATO Best Hit Meeting for fighter-bombers at Larissa on 21-07-72 against US Navy A-7B, USAF F-4E , Turkish AF F-104G, Italian AF G-91R.

    Main role changed
in 25-04-75 to day-interception as the Air Force preferred to use the Republic RF-84F, elderly but having longer range for reconnaissance duties. Cameras were  removed
    from the aircrafts, the reconnaissance nose being kept except for 5 RF-5As which obtained the "normal" fighter nose. The Squadron's main role switched again to close- support in 1983,
    being re-deployed to the 110th Combat Wing at Larissa in September 1987.

    The furtherst base reached by Greek F-5s was by 2 Northrop RF-5A and 2 F-5B of this Squadron, when they rotated with the Spanish Ala 21 to Moron de la Frontera on 29-06-89.

April 1991 saw the arrival of a new version of the Freedom Fighter: 10 former Dutch/Canadair NF-5A and 1 NF-5B. Five single- and the double-seater were delivered on 11-04-91, followed the day after by the
remaining single-
seaters. Flown were by Greek and Dutch pilots, routing via Eindhoven AB/Cameri AB/Sigonella AB/Larissa AB.

Shorty before disbandement (02-04-93 - 14-04-93) the unit had a Squadron Exhange with the Italian 14th Gruppo CBR (on Fiat G-91Y) at Treviso. Disbandment followed on 05-09-97.


                      Rarely see Northrop RF-5A with underwing tanks and four pylons                          Northrop RF-5A-45 97165 349 Squadron at Larissa on 20-07-72, Best Hit Weapons Meet.

                                                                       frame 1
                                                                      Northrop RF-5A-45 97164, with RF nose but without cameras, seen on 03-06-91  Photo: Sergio Bottaro

                       frame 1
      Northrop F-5A 38412 in 1979 in latest Aegean colours and air-to-air AIM-9 Sidewinder.                  Canadair NF-5A Aegean blue camouflage, serial 3047 with blue excercise Sidewinder seen in-flight
                                                                                                                           Both photos: Hellenic AF

                                                                                     frame 1
                                                                                 Canadair NF-5A 3062, painted in Aegean Blue colours; before delivery to Greece it was in special
                                                                                 red colours with inscription "Redskins go F-16".     Photo: Archive The Northrop F-5 Enthusiast

By 1996 air-defence is the primary role of the unit, while two flights each had a secondary role of ground attack and tactical reconnaissance; most aircrafts carried two AIM-9P Sidewinders for self-defence. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

130th Combat Group   "Readiness"

  Combat Groups are Air Bases from where aircrafts operated on temporary assignment from their home Combat Wings. frame. Formerly designated Lemnos Air Detachment it was
  renamed 130th Combat Group sub-ordinated to the 111th Combat Wing in September 1974; 6 F-5s were detached to the Group in March 1975. The Group was active on the
  Freedom Fighter until at least until 1985; 
it reported directly to the Tactical Air Force Headquarter as of 01-01-77, an independent unit under the Tactical Air Force Headquarters.

  Possibly transitioned to the McDonnell F-4E in 1985 and again to the Northrop F-5 in 1987, and (probably before 1996) on loaned LTV A-7 Corsair.