Cyprus Air Forces

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Air Command of Cyprus
Διοίκηση Αεροπορίας Κύπρου
Kıbrıs Hava Kuvvetleri
Active 12,1963
Country  Cyprus
Branch Air Force
Size 20 Helicopters, 2 Systems of UAVs and 2 Fixed Wing
Part of Cypriot National Guard
Major-General Anastasios Katsimpras
Fin Flash Flag of Cyprus.svg
Air Wing Roundel Hellenic Air Force Roundel.svg
Low visibility Air Wing Roundel Cyprus-roundel low.svg

The Cyprus Air Command (Greek: Διοίκησης Αεροπορίας Κύπρου, Turkish: Kıbrıs Hava Kuvvetleri) is the armed air wing of the National Guard. This force does not have any fixed wing combat aircraft, but is equipped with attack and anti-tank helicopters, surface-to-air missile and integrated radar systems, as well as Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV).

Current Air Force organization

As of 2012 the Cyprus Air Force consists of two helicopter-squadrons along with a UAV squadron equipped with IAI Searcher 2 unmanned aerial vehicles. The Cyprus Air Force also possesses a Search and Rescue Coordination Centre, which is due to equip with its own aircraft. Note that the aircraft of the Cyprus Police operate under a separate command-structure during peacetime.

  • 449th Antitank Helicopter Squadron (Μοίρα Αντιαρματικών Ελικοπτέρων)
  • 450th Helicopter Squadron (Μοίρα Ελικοπτέρων)
  • UAV Squadron
  • Search & Rescue Coordination Centre (Κέντρο Συντονισμού Έρευνας – Διάσωσης)

Air Force bases and stations

  • Papandreou AFB, Paphos
The primary air base of the Cyprus Air Force, this base adjacent to the Paphos International Airport has runway, taxiway, hardened aircraft-shelters and integrated command, control and communication facilities. Papandreou AFB also houses a small helicopter overhaul and maintenance facility. As Cyprus operates no aircraft is supposed shelters would be used by Greek Air Force planes in case of war or crisis.
  • Lakatamia AFB, Nicosia
The reserve air base of the Cyprus Air Force lies just south of the Cypriot capital of Nicosia. The base rarely hosts fixed-wing aircraft, and simply serves as a staging-post for helicopters operating in and out of the Nicosia area.
  • Troodos Stations
The Troodos Mountains, the highest range in Cyprus, host a number of radar and air-defence facilities. Their unit designations and deployment status are not made public.

Note: In an emergency, Cypriot military and paramilitary aircraft can operate from Paphos and Larnaca international airports, as well as from prepared stretches of motorway equipped with landing zones and with paved operating-areas.

Aircraft inventory

Aircraft Origin Type Versions In service[1] Squadron Base Notes
Mi-35 Russia Attack Helicopter Mil Mi-35P "Black Panther" 11 450 Sqd 1st detachment Paphos 12 delivered, 1 lost in accident in 2006. Major upgrade was planned in 2010 for the addition of night capability and self-defensive systems but this has been delayed for the foreseeable future.
Gazelle France Anti-tank Helicopter SA-342L1 Gazelle 4 450 Sqd 1st detachment Lakatamia 6 ordered in 1987, 4 currently active.
AW139 Italy Utility Helicopter AW139 3 Search and Rescue Coordination Centre Paphos 3 aircraft ordered for CSAR role. Requested fully night capable with armour. All three arrived on 12 March 2011.
Britten-Norman Defender UK Utility aircraft BN.2B-21 Maritime Defender 1 450 Sqd 2nd detachment Paphos Procured in 1984 with 12.7mm cannon pods, radar and target towing capability.
IAI Searcher 2 Israel UAV IAI Searcher 2 2 Groups UAV Sqd Classified Since 2002. Reported to include 2 systems, each with a group of UAVs.[2]

Current air-defence inventory

System Photo Origin Type Versions In service Notes
9M330 Tor Amd sa15.jpg
Surface-to-air missile TOR-M1 6 First batch of 6 via Greece delivered by 2000. Second batch from Russia was due in 2011, but the status of this batch is not currently known.
9K37 BUK Buk-M1-2 9A310M1-2.jpg
Surface-to-air missile Unknown 20 Reported to have been procured circa 2006/2007 via Greece in BUK-M1 and / or BUK-M1-2 variants. Not confirmed.
Aspide-330 Aspide launch.jpg
Surface-to-air missile Aspide-330 24 High velocity semi-active radar homing "O" ("Othello") variant with range 18 km, used with four-cell TELARs in conjunction with Contraves Skyguard system. First batch of 12 in the 1980s, second batch of 12 in 2006. Circa 200 missiles.
Matra Mistral Mistral-2.jpg
Surface-to-air missile Mistral Tranche 2 30 Supplied as "Alamo" version, self-propelled VSHORADS on all-terrain vehicle with separate radar system.
Oerlikon 35 mm twin cannon 35 mm Oerlikon.jpg
Anti-aircraft gun GDF-005 30 Used in conjunction with Skyguard and Aspide systems.

Inventory formerly used or embargoed

System Photo Origin Type Versions In service Notes
S-300 PMU1 MoscowParade2009 7.jpg
Surface-to-air missile S-300 PMU1 2 Delivered in 1998, and then transferred to Crete (Hellenic Air Force) the same year due to political considerations.

Aerial incidents between Cyprus and Turkey

Paphos Incident – 22 October 2000

On 22 October 2000, TOR-M1 air-defence batteries operated by the Cyprus National Guard at Papandreou Air Base tracked a pair of Turkish warplanes detected approaching the air base by "locking-on" to them [3] The action of engaging the Turkish aircraft with radar forced the warplanes to retreat from the area, as Greek Cypriot and Greek forces conducted joint military manoeuvres in the Paphos region. The incident prompted an angry outburst from the Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktaş, who was reported in the media to have condemned the radar lock-on as a provacation that could lead to war.[4]

Paphos Incident – 5 April 2002

It was variously reported in the Cyprus media [3] that combat radars of the Cyprus National Guard, based at Papandreou Air Base in Paphos, had tracked two Turkish F-16 warplanes at 11am on 5 April 2002, by "locking-on" to them. The two Turkish aircraft were reported to have incurred into the Nicosia Flight Information Region and then passed directly over the Greek Cypriot air base at an altitude of 3500 feet. Upon realising that they were being tracked, the two Turkish aircraft reportedly turned back towards Turkey, and then returned to their airbase.

See also


  1. "World Air Forces 2013". Flightglobal. 2013. Retrieved 7 May 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Radars 'lock on to Turkish F-16s'" By Jean Christou, Cyprus Mail, 7 April 2002
  4. Alex Efty (24 October 2000). "Denktash Warns of War Risk". The Independent.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>