Corsairs and Phantoms - Phantoms at Andravida
Andravida is located in the West of the Peloponnese, not far from Olympia, one of the most well-known Greek historic sites and it can still be visited today. Of course Andravida itself is not that historically relevant, but two Squadrons of F-4E (AUP) Phantom II were more than a good reason for a visit.
The air base is home of the 117 Combat Wing, consisting of two Squadrons:
- 338 Mira - Aris (Mars)
- 339 Mira - Aias (Ajax)
338 Squadron is used as a Fighter Bomber Squadron, whereas 339 Squadron has a more special role for all weather attack and its aircraft can thus mostly be seen being equipped with the Rafael Litening II pod.
Between the late 1990s and 2004 a total of 39 HAF F-4E Phantoms were upgraded by the German DASA. On top of the Kampfwertsteigerung (or Improved Combat Efficiency) midlife-update done to the German F-4F Phantoms by the same company, the HAF F-4Es were fitted with the Hughes APG-65GY radar (also used on the F-18C/Ds) as well as new avionics such as navigation and communication systems, partly provided by Israeli companies.
Armament upgrades included the AIM-120 AMRAAM, JDAM and AGM-142 capability for ground attack and various target identification pods. As these weapons are very rarely carried, the most-striking detail of the upgrade from the outside remain the 4 IFF antennas in front of the cockpit.
The name for the upgrade program used by the Germans was "Peace Icarus 2000", whereas Hellenic Aerospace Industries designated the aircraft updated in-country as F-4E(AUP), standing for "Avionic Upgrade Program".
Not only did the upgrade proved to be very efficient, also the airframe itself can still be trusted and is reliable as could be witnessed during my witness: 10 Phantoms lined-up on the last chance is a view that cannot be seen elsewhere very often nowadays.
And finally also some more AUP Phantom photos linked and available in higher resolution:
All that remains to be said is a big "Ευχαριστω!" to all those people and HAF personnel that supported the preparation of this visit as well as on base!Thank you for rating this article.