Larissa Air Force Base
|Larissa like many Hellenic Air Force (HAF) air bases is littered with aircraft relics. Some have been put on display many F-4 Phantoms are held in open storage to be used as a spares source to keep the active RF-4Es of 348 MTA flying. There are also other aircraft dispersed around the airfield which are slowly decaying where there does not seem to be any logical military reason to keep them. The HAF should be commended by lovers of historic aircraft for having a policy of respecting the service these aircraft gave and to the pilots that flew them.
Due to lack of time I did not have the opportunity to photograph many of the withdrawn aircraft here.
The ‘Peace Icarus’ program
Hellenic Air Force (HAF) ordered 58 F-4E Phantom IIs in 1971 under the ‘Peace Icarus’ program deliveries started in 1974 and were completed in 1978.
The first unit to receive the F-4E was 339 ‘Ajax’ Mira based at Andravida converted from the F-84F Thunderstreak. 339 MPK is tasked with the all-weather interception role it is also the Phantom OCU (Operational Conversion Unit). 338 ‘Ares’ Mira which is also at Andravida, began to convert in 1975. 338 MPK is assigned the ground attack role.
In 1978 F-4Es and the reconnaissance version RF-4Es were issued to 337 ‘Fantasma’ Mira at Larissa. 337 Mira converted from the Northrop F-5A at Nea Ankhialos. The RF-4Es were delivered to 348 ‘Matia’ Mira also at Larissa to replace the RF-84F in the reconnaissance role.
28 former and US Air National Guard F-4Es were delivered to Greece in 1991 and entered service with 338 Mira. In 1993 a further 27 ex-Luftwaffe RF-4Es were also issued to 348 Mira in 1994 with the exception of seven airframes which were used as spares, the HAF Phantom fleet now totalled 121 aircraft.
|Left to right: Inside main gate F-4E Phantom II (68-506),
Outside the 348 Mira main building on display; RF-4E Phantom II (7535) and Republic RF-84F Thunderflash (28736).
| The RF/F-4E Phantom II spares recovery line totaling 13 aircraft
|Left to right: RF-4E Phantom IIs (35+07, 35+84, 35+46 and 35+13).
RF-4E Phantom II (35+13). In 1993 Germany supplied 27 RF-4E Phantom IIs to the HAF, seven of those were for spares recovery only they were; 69-7454/35+07, 69-7460/35+13, 69-7471/35+24, 69-7493/35+46, 69-7498/35+51, 69-7531/35+84 and 69-7534/35+87.
|Left to right: RF-4E Phantom IIs (35+46 and 35+84).|
|Left to right: RF-4E Phantom IIs (35+84 and 35+07).|
|Left to right: F-4E Phantom IIs (68-517 and 68-408).|
|Left to right: RF-4E Phantom II (7476 ex German AF 35+29) which unusually has been repainted in a south-east Asia scheme unlike all the other ex German aicraft which retain their green/black lizard scheme.|
|Left to right: RF-4E Phantom II (7482 ex German AF 35+35) and F-4E Phantom II (68363)|
| The RF/F-4E Phantom II spares recovery line totaling 13 aircraft from the other end of the line
|Left to right: F-4E Phantom IIs (67-377 and 68-426).|
|Left to right: F-4E Phantom IIs (68-444 and 68-381).|
|Left to right: Northrop F-5A Freedom Fighter (10566) and Lockheed T-33A Shooting Star (58602 'TR-602').|
|Left to right: F-5A Freedom Fighter (68-9066) with RF-84F Thunderflash (51-11294),
RF-5A Freedom Fighters x2 (01619 and 01617) with F-5A Freedom Fighter (64-13376),
F-5A Freedom Fighters (89064 and 01399),
T-33A Shooting Star (58639 'TR-639').