US Air Force ties to Greece may grow as relations with Turkey sour
Greek officials are seeking closer ties to the U.S. military, a move that occurs as Turkey refuses to back down on acquiring a Russian air defense system that could compromise NATO aircraft.
Athens and Washington have been discussing expanded operations at Larissa Air Base, in central Greece, which includes potentially stationing KC-135 tankers and unmanned aerial vehicles there, as well as expanding training operations, according to Kathimerini, a daily Athens newspaper.
U.S. Air Forces Europe would not comment on future basing or force structure changes, but expanding training with the Greeks appears to be in the works regarding INIOHOS, an air exercise between NATO allies and partner nations.
“They have expressed desires to increase the scope and stature of the exercise, and we are happy to support them as we can on their efforts,” said a U.S. Air Forces Europe official. “The U.S. Air Force is preparing for Stolen Cerberus, a routine exercise between the Hellenic air force and U.S. Air Forces in Europe. As INIOHOS is a Hellenic air force-led exercise, we defer to them on plans for future iterations.”
Unarmed reconnaissance MQ-9 Reapers are flying from Larissa Air Base until August, Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon said. However, he, too, refused to comment on discussions taking place that could expand that commitment, and deferred to previous remarks by Defense Department leaders.
Last year, then-Defense Secretary James Mattis teased the idea of an increased military presence in Greece for U.S. forces.
You may be interested
Coronavirus Greece: 2,845 new cases, 165 intubated, 12 deathsmakis - Jul 30, 2021
Greek authorities announced that the new laboratory-confirmed cases of coronavirus recorded in the last 24 hours are 2,845, of which…
Coronavirus Greece: 2,696 new cases, 157 intubated, 9 deathsmakis - Jul 29, 2021
Greek authorities announced today that the new laboratory-confirmed cases of coronavirus recorded in the last 24 hours are 2,696, of…
Greek real estate market still strong despite Covid-19 pandemic, report showsPanos - Jul 29, 2021
The Greek real estate market is demonstrating resilience in 2020 despite the fact that the pandemic had an overall negative impact on the…