«The more robust the more combat-ready one is»
At this point of his work, Aristotle, writing about bravery, states that one should be brave not because one is forced to, but because bravery is itself a sort of experience; it is for this reason that Socrates thinks that bravery is part of the learning process. Subsequently, speaking about the bravery of experienced soldiers, Socrates states the following:
Thus, they are like armed men fighting against unarmed men, or like trained athletes competing with amateurs; for, even in the athletic contests, the bravest are not so much those who fight best, as those who are the most robust and able-bodied.
(Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics III, VIII, 4-9) – (Loeb, H. Rackhman)
Larisa Air Base.
Hellenic Tactical Air Force (HTAF)
- 337 Squadron
- UAVS Squadron
- F-4E SRA
- F-16C/D Block 30
- Pegasus I
- F-16C/D Block 52+
- Pegasus II Block I
To maintain efficiency and readiness to a high standard with the appropriate organization, personnel training, and maintenance of the assets and systems provided for or redeployed in order to assume and successfully carry out Air Operations whenever required.
- 1912 Landing of “DAEDALUS” aircraft and establishment of the 1st Hellenic Air Force Company
- 1928 Establishment of the LARISSA 2nd Aircraft Regiment
- 1932 Establishment of the 2nd LARISSA Group (after the Air Force became an independent Branch of the Hellenic Armed Forces)
- 1934 Renaming to LARISSA Air Base
- 1949 Training of 335 and 336 Fighter Squadrons’ pilots and technicians in the first specialized bombers in Greece, namely the HELLDIVERS
- 1951 Final naming to 110 Combat Wing
- 1952 Establishment of the first JET aircraft Squadron (i.e. 337Sqn with F-84G aircraft)
- 1953 Redeployment of 338 & 339 Squadrons with F-84G aircraft
- 1954 Redeployment, from 112 CW to Larissa, of the Tactical Reconnaissance Flight with F-84G aircraft appropriately modified to carry photocameras.
- 1955 Renaming of the Tactical Reconnaissance Flight to 348 Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron (TRS) with RT-33 aircraft and, from 1956, with RF-84F aircraft in its inventory.
- 1966 Establishment of the 342 Fighter-Bomber Squadron (FBS) with F-84F aircraft, renamed in 1969, to 344 Fighter Bomber Sqn. The Squadron operated from the Unit until 1983, when it suspended operations.
- 1967 The 349 Day Intercept Squadron (DIS) was established with F/RF-5A/B aircraft, which operated from 110 CW until 1975, when it redeployed to 111 CW
- 1977 A wide-scale modernization project was implemented to receive new aircraft, which was completed in 1979. In the context of this modernization, the 347 Fighter-Bomber Squadron (FBS) was established with A-7 aircraft.
- 1978 The 337 All-Weather Squadron (AWS) operated again with F-4E aircraft.
- 1979 The RF-4E (SAP) aircraft entered the inventory of 348 Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron (TRS).
- 1982 The VELOS anti-aircraft system was incorporated in the Unit’s defense
- 1987 The 349 Day Intercept Squadron (DIS) redeployed to Larissa again and in 1997, it suspended operations
- 1993 The RF-4E (GAF) aircraft entered the inventory of the 348 Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron (TRS).
- 1997 The 346 Squadron with F-16C/D in its inventory redeployed from 111CW to this Unit.
- 2017 The 348TRS stopped operating and RF-4E were withdrawn.
- 2017 The UAVS Squadron was transferred from the Aktio Air Force Detachment to the 110 Combat Wing and was established at the location of the 346 Squadron until the suspension of its function.
Depiction of a ghost carrying AIM-120 Air-to-Air missiles.
Call Sign: GHOST
The history of the 337 Squadron, following that of 335Sqn and 336Sqn, began when WW II ended, during a difficult period for Greece which was still counting the wounds of the War. Its establishment began initially in liberated Greece in 1945 and was completed in 1947, when it joined the then Hellenic Royal Air Force, based in Elefsis Air Base. The official order of establishment and assumption of operational duties was dated March 30, 1948 with SPITFIRE aircraft due to be replaced by Supermarine Spitfire Mk IX aircraft in 1949. A glorious legacy of these historic aircraft has been the Spitfire with Serial Number MJ-755 exhibited at the Hellenic Air Force (HAF) Museum.
In early 1952 a significant change in the history of the 337 Squadron took place, since it successfully passed a transition stage in terms of acquiring and operationally exploiting the T-33A Silver Star training aircraft of US manufacture.
The aircraft in question were used for the training of the Squadron’s pilots, who some time later flew the, then, recently acquired F-84G Thunderjet aircraft, rendering the 337Sqn the first Fighter-Bomber Squadron (FBS) with Jet aircraft in the Hellenic Air Force.
In October 1952 the 337 FB Sqn redeployed from the Elefsis Air Base to the Larissa AB with F-84G aircraft in its inventory.
Αt the beginning of the year 1953, the first acrobatic flight of the HAF was established and joined the 337 Fighter Bomber Squadron , a fact that projected the squadron in the inland as well as abroad. The establishment-training of the Acro Team was accomplished informally by the Commander of the Squadron Maj. K. Kokkas, who, fascinated by the show of the American acrobatic flight Sky Blazers and inspired by extreme patriotism under strict confidence, trained three distinguished pilots of the Squadron (1st LT Damaskos Dimitrios, 1st LT Stylianakis Ioannis and 2nd LT Papadimitropoulos Emmanouel).
During the visit of the Minister of National Defense Panagiotis Kanelopoulos in May 1954, the first air show of the acrobatic flight took place unexpectedly. The Minister showed his enthusiasm by deciding the official establishment of the flight. This is the beginning of the glorious history of the first acrobatic flight of Greece eliciting the jubilant comments of the Hellenic and the foreign press of that time.
In November 1956, the 337 Squadron redeployed from 110CW to 112CW with F-84G and T-33 aircraft, while in November 1959 it redeployed to 115CW (Souda, Crete).
In January 1960 the Squadron was renamed to 337 All-Weather Squadron, in April 1960 it redeployed to 112CW and one month later the F-86D aircraft had been added to its Force.
By the beginning of 1967 the 337 Squadron operated on a training basis with F-5 aircraft at 111CW being at the same time in readiness with F-86D aircraft at 112CW.
The 337 All-Weather Squadron stopped operating on 31.5.1967 and was reestablished on 16-11-1967 at 111CW as 337 Day Intercept Squadron with F-5 aircraft that had been delivered the following month.
The Mc-Donnell Douglas Contract for the purchase of 36 F-4E PHANTOM II aircraft was signed in March 1972. The training of technicians and 18 crews took place in the United States of America and the first F-4E aircraft landed in Andravida (117CW) on April 5th, 1974.
According to the “Peace Icarus I” Program the first deliveries armed the 338 and 339 Squadrons at 117CW.
On March 31st, 1978, after the agreement of the “Peace Icarus II” Program, the 337 Day Intercept Squadron stopped operating as F-5A aircrraft Squadron of the 111CW. It was reestablished on September 7th 1978 at 117CW, whereas on the 11th of the same month it was redeployed to the 110CW as the 3rd F-4E aircraft Squadron.
The mission of the 337 All-Weather Squadron is to conduct air operations primarily of interception and secondarily of fighter-bombing according to the general and specific plans with the aim of contributing to the defense of the country.
The official ceremony concerning the operation of the 337 All-weather Squadron with F-4E aircraft took place on September 23rd 1978 in the presence of the Chief of HTAF, former Squadron Leaders and many guests.
Since then and until mid 2005, READINESS and SCRAMBLE constituted a major and inseparable part of the function and mission of the Squadron. It is almost impossible to calculate even approximately the man-hours dedicated to this enormous operational mission, which often replaced the training flights of the Squadron by emergency and non-readiness ones, day and night, at 110CW as well as at the airports of the 130CG (Combat Group) on Limnos and at the 135CG on Skyros.
Therefore, the 337 All-weather Squadron undertook the interception mission of any hostile track within the Athens FIR and was the dominant force in the Aegean “Arena” from 1978 until the beginning of the 90s.
After the arrival of the F-16 and MIRAGE 2000 aircraft, the F-4E stopped being the «new combat aircraft» and a large number of its pilots formed the core of the new combat Squadrons.
However, the squadron at the same time played a leading role in parades, demonstrations and ceremonies with the presence of the military leadership, often holding an honorary, a leading or an opening position.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990, the West’s first and natural reaction was the drastic reduction, among others, in the Air Force as well as in the expenditures for defense programs. As a result, hundreds of F-4E aircraft stopped operating immediately, becoming available for sale. In the middle ΄90s the USA government decided to dispose 28 G-4E aircraft of the Indiana National Guard to Greece, in order to compensate for the Greek Force’s participation in the Gulf War. Those 28 aircraft were named as Southeastern Regional Agreement (SRA).
The delivery of the aircraft started in early August 1991 and was concluded in a very short time. At first, they had been under the command of 338 FBS (Fighter-Bomber Squadron), which in turn, in 1997-98, delivered them to the 337 AWFS (All-Weather Fighter Squadron). The SRAs were constructed for the USAF using the 1967/68 fiscal year funds, thus they are older than the F-4E Peace Icarus I and II. However, they have further operational capabilities than the latter, since from the period 1985-86 onwards, following a USAF decision, the SRA aircraft were upgraded, giving particular emphasis on conducting offensive missions, while in 1989 they were further upgraded, although to a minor extent. Therefore, compared to the first F-4E aircraft of the Air Force, they have many differences in their electronic equipment, the most important of which is the navigation and weapon-delivery system (NWDS).
The specific system was installed on the aircraft in the late ‘80s, and is considered one of the most advanced Inertial Navigation Systems (INS). Its reliability (half mile per flight hour) could be directly compared to that of the F-16C/D block 30 aircraft.
On 31st December 2005, the withdrawal of the SRA aircraft was decided. The gradual reduction in operational demands on the aircraft was imperative due to the age of the aircraft. The last Scramble was performed by the 130 CG (Combat Group) on 18 April under the code name “GHOST 732”, and the last operational flight code-named “GHOST 700” took place on 13 June 2005 with the Squadron leader as the leader of the flight formation. Consequently, a reduction in the number of flying personnel commenced, the majority of which manned the Squadrons of the new generation aircraft.
The conclusion, in late August 2005, of the painting of the 506 anniversary aircraft, in the colors of various Squadron badges issued since the foundation of the Squadron, is considered a historic moment. The aforementioned aircraft was highly commended during the “Archangel” 2005 Air Show. Besides, it was the first time a 337 AWFS aircraft had ever actually participated in an Air Show (static display), which took place in September 2005 in Malta. Since the very beginning of the Air Show, journalists published in the Internet photos of the anniversary aircraft commending at the same time the aircraft’s presence in the Air Show.
The Squadron has written glorious pages in our history bequeathing not only unique and invaluable accomplishments to the Air Force, but also a TASK. We have kept on performing and preserving this task entrusted to us by our predecessors, for it constitutes an inexhaustible source of inspiration, power and optimism. It is our duty to deliver it, in due course, intact to those who will carry on writing the Squadrons’ History.
Re-operation with F-16 Block 52+ aircraft
The history of the 337 All-Weather Squadron was rewritten again at Larissa, after a decision of the Supreme Air Force Council (SAFC), this time with F-16 Block 52+ aircraft, from 15/5/2006. Its soul, its own people, will continue to offer their services to the mission of Air Force.
The Squadron’s reestablishment ceremony took place at 110 Combat Wing in Larissa, on the 20th of October 2006. Members of the Parliament and local authorities also attended the ceremony.