Exercise and Background
The exercise Iniochos 2018 can easily be described and summarised by the origin of its name – which is the Greek word of charioteer. The exercise has as its aim to steer and keep control of the battle – like a charioteer steering his quadriga of horses through the battle. The term has a huge importance in Greece as it is linked to the remains of such a charioteer made of bronze in the 5th century BC and erected in the sacred are of Delphi. Due to this heritage the name on the one hand symbolizes the purpose of the exercise but on the other hand includes the local context.
The multi-national invitational exercise itself has grown from a small scale national exercise in the late 1980s especially in the last 3 years to a significant size and international importance. This was the consequence due to a decision in 2013 by the HAF to adapt the operational training to the security situation. Thus from 2014 Iniochos is run as a medium scale Invitex (Invitational Exercise) keeping all flying participants on one base. This is done by intention as Col Antonios Panidis, Hellenic Air Tactics Center Commander, explains: “The single base concept brings together hundreds of participants in face to face planning, briefing and debriefing thus maximizing training benefits and promoting cooperation and exchange of ideas on tactics between participants with different experience.” The exercise does not include only airborne assets though – in parallel the Greek Army and Navy run their exercises (“Polifimos” for the Army and “Astrapi” for the Navy) thereby providing on threats and diverse targets for the training.
The invited and participating countries are described on the one hand by the connections of Greece to NATO (United States, United Kingdom, Italy) but as well to the aim of the exercise of connecting forces and foster interoperability between the residents and neighbours in the Eastern Mediterranean (as well Italy, Cyprus, Israel, United Arab Emirates, Egypt by observer). Admiral Evangelos Apostolakis HN, the Chief of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff emphasized this as well in his speech: “Exercise INIOCHOS is a relatively new but very significant addition in our efforts to foster friendly relations and cooperation between Armed Forces who share concerns and face same challenges. With this exercise we put another stepping stone in our endeavour to promote stability and peace in the area. So, today we bring together NATO and non-NATO Armed Forces. Today we bring together friends that are committed to safeguard peace.” This was set into another context as well by Lieutenant General Christos Christodoulou, Chief of the HAF: “Greece has been historically and culturally associated with the Middle East and North Africa for over three thousand years, and as a member of NATO and EU, is an integral part of the region and acts as a bridge with Europe, conveying the values and principles: of stability, peace, and security."