From November 23 to 30 2018, the bilateral joint exercise “MEDOUSA 7-ALEXANDROUPOLIS 18”, is being conducted, under the existing military cooperation programme between Greece and Egypt.
Tassos Tsiplakos - South East Med Energy & Defense Strategy Analyst
Cyprus has also been invited to participate. The exercise includes phases of activities conducted ashore-Souda Naval Base and at sea-Cretan Sea in the boundaries of Athens FIR and the Greek continental self.
The bilateral “MEDOUSA”, the large-scale for air and naval forces, exercises between Greece and Egypt began in December 2015, and were repeated in December 2016, August and October 2017. The last was “MEDOUSA 6”, between 23-29 June 2018, in which the Armed Forces of Cyprus were invited to participate in the exercise being upgraded to tri-national status. The exercise area was the naval base of Alexandria and the offshore area north of the city, within the Egyptian FIR.
The exercise scenarios are gradually being expanded but the participating forces are also increasing both in size and in the variety of the hardware involved. The breakdown of the participating forces indicates the scale of the exercise:
- The Hellenic Armed Forces participate with: 3 FFG and their on-board S-70 “Aegean Hawks” helicopters, 1 214 type SUB, 2 FPB, 1 LST, 8 F-16, 1 ΕΜΒ-145Η “Erieye” AWACS, 1 SUPER PUMA, 3 CHINOOK, 4 AH-64 attack helicopters and SOF personnel.
- Cypriot Armed Forces participate with: 1 Patrol Boat and Special Forces personnel.
- Egyptian Armed Forces participate with: 1LHD (MISTRAL class helicopter carrier), 1 FFG, 1 SUB, 2 FPB, 6 F-16, 1 E2-C AWACS and Special Forces personnel. Students from the Egyptian Naval Academy will participate in the training activities, and for the first time several young people from the Presidential Leadership Program will attend training activities in Greece.
The purpose of the exercise, to be completed on November 30th, is to further advance the cooperation of the Armed Forces in a multi-threat environment. Included in the exercises are training for maritime interdiction operations and the right to visit and search ships suspected; training on search and rescue procedures and the exchanging of communications between naval vessels, offshore units and train crews to carry out various exercises at sea. Other exercises will include securing offshore units using air-defense weapons and securing lines of communication and the movement of maritime transport. More specifically, the main training objectives include:
- improvement of the interoperability at the tactical level
- surface, anti-submarine and anti-air warfare exercises
- Air units’ training against surface targets
- Amphibious operations
- Asymmetric threats
- SAR and MIO Operations
- Gunfire drills
Observers from UAE, USA, Italy, Morocco and Portugal will participate in the exercise. On Thursday November 29, 2018, the Day of Distinguished Visitors (DVDay) will take place.