Historical Order of Battle 1974
Cyprus Air Command

Click on unit title for more details

Squadron Platoon Type Base
Mira Aeroskafon   1 Beech C-45, 1 Do 27Q, 2 Piper Colt Lakatamia
Aeroporikó Kéntro Elénkhou (Air Control Centre)   none Nicosia
419 MPA   none
420 MPA   none Tymbou Air Base
3 MSEP   (radar unit) Mt. Kormakitis
4 MSEP   (radar unit) Mt. Kantara

Narrative History
Cyprus Air Command

of the Cyprus Air Command

The island of Cyprus gained independence from Britain on 16th August 1960, to become the Republic of Cyprus. The new government initially had no aircraft, but a Dornier was obtained from Germany in 1962 for military liaison use. In 1963 the Aeroporiki Diikissi Kyprou ADK (Cyprus Air Command) was formed with its headquarters in Nicosia. This force was equipped with a small number of light aircraft, and shared a joint command with the air-defence forces of the island and the Police.

The ADK also had two non-flying squadrons under its command – the 419 MPA (Mira Prostasias Aerodromiou = Air Base Protection Squadron) and 420 MPA at Lakatamia AFB and Tymbou AFB bases respectively. Two radar squadrons – 3 MSEP (created in 1964) and 4 MSEP (created in 1966) were also formed (MSEP = (MSEP=Mira Stathmou Elenchou Proidopiisis / Warning and Control Station Squadron), bringing the pre-1974 order of battle to include one flying unit and 4 non-flying squadrons. In 1968 the Police and ADK separated their activities and only two aircraft remained under ADK command: a Beechcraft C-45 (D-6) and, reportedly, a L-21B Super Cub (D-7).

In July 1974, the island was plunged into crisis when Turkey invaded the north of Cyprus, after a failed Greek-inspired coup of the Republic Government and attempts to militarily overthrow Archbishop Makarios, the state leader. With the island’s security forces divided by loyalties and contradicting orders, the small air force of the island remained grounded as Turkish forces invaded the island. The air-defence forces, however, were actively involved in combat action during the invasion, with a substantial number of towed and fixed anti-aircraft guns and a few radars involved in fighting the Turkish Air Force.

The Turkish Air Force suffered only minor losses in its support of the invasion, with a reported 12 aircraft being downed (2 confirmed to friendly fire, one a confirmed kill (F-100) while the majority of the rest remain unclaimed as possible accidents). The Cypriot forces themselves suffered catastrophic friendly-fire, with the accidental downing of a Greek Nortalas transport plane plus the destruction of a further 2 more on the ground by anti-aircraft guns defending Nicosia International Airport.

After 1974 the ADK was disbanded. In 1982 the Cypriot National Guard Air Wing (CNGAW) was revived using aircraft stored since 1974. In the mid-1980’s, an ecomonic revival allowed the the Cyprus Government to order the refurbishment, upgrading and enlargement of the armed forces. This was intended to fend off a perceived future threat of further invasion by Turkey into southern Cyprus, through the self-proclaimed “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” with Turkish occupation forces.

From 1986 the Air Wing received new equipment in the form of Gazelle anti-tank helicopters, Bell-206 Long Rangers and Pilatus patrol aircraft over the course of a few years, while the older aircraft in the inventory, including a C-45 Beechcraft, Piper PA-22 and Dornier Do 27, were phased out.

In 1996, the Air Wing was reformed into the Cyprus Air Force / Kypriaki Stratoitiki Aeroporia, (KSA). In May 2002 the single Aircraft & Helicopter Squadron was split into two Squadrons. A third squadron was established in 2012. Sometime after 2000 the Cyprus Air Force reverted back to its tradional title of Cyprus National Guard Air Command / Ethniki Froura, Diikissi Aeroporias, (DA), or Cyprus Air Command in short.

Key Dates
Cyprus Air Command

of the Cyprus Air Command
16 August 1960    Cyprus becomes independent
1962    First military aircraft delivered
December 1963    Cyprus Air Command (ADK) formed
June 1964    Cypriot National Guard formed
1968    Cyprus Police separates from ADK
1974    ADK disbanded after Turkish invasion
1982    National Guard Air Wing re-established
1986    New aircraft ordered
1996    Air Wing renamed Cyprus Air Force
May 2002    Single Aircraft & Helicopter Squadron split into two Squadrons
??    Cyprus Air Force reverts to Cyprus Air Command title

Current Order of Battle
Cyprus Air Command

Click on unit title for more details

Squadron Platoon Type Base
449 Mira Antiarmatikon Elikopteron
  1st Platoon SA.342L-1 Gazelle Lakatamia
  2nd Platoon Bell 206L-3, UH-1H Lakatamia
450 Mira Elikopteron
  1st Platoon Mi-35 Hind Paphos
  2nd Platoon PC-9 Paphos
460 Mira Elikopteron
    AW139 Lakatamia

Agusta-Bell AB205
in Cyprus Air Command service

History

One Italian-built Agusta-Bell AB205 appears to have been included in the second batch of US-built Bell UH-1H Iroquois leased from the Greek Army in 2004. It was returned to Greece in late 2005.

Individual Details

Serial c/no. Prev. Identity Delivered Fate/Notes
EΣ-698 4450   2004 first noted June 2004

Pictures

None at present.

More Information

References

  • European Air Forces Directory 2012/13 (Mach III)

Other Sources

To be added.

IAI Searcher 2
in Cyprus Air Command service

History

In 2002, the Cyprus Government initiated a classified program to acquire unmanned aerial reconnaissance platforms, of which an initial requirement for two “systems” was formalised.
A firm order for two systems (not necessarily two aircraft), believed to be for the Searcher 2, was placed with an undisclosed Israeli company, at a cost of $17 million US dollars within the same year. This contract was later cancelled and put out to tender again, see Reference 3. It seems that IAI was again the winner, and 2 systems were purchased. The UAVs are operated by an Army unit rather than the Air Force. This unit is very secretive, as the UAVs have never been seen in public.

Individual Details

Serial c/no. Prev. Identity Delivered Fate/Notes
?        
?        
?        
?        

More Information

References

Other Sources

To be added.

Piper L-21 Super Cub
in Cyprus Air Command service

History

One Piper L-21B Super Cub reportedly obtained circa 1964. Used for liaison and patrol duties. Retired not long after 1968.

Individual Details

Serial c/no. Prev. Identity Delivered Fate/Notes
D-7 ? ? 1964 wfu 1968?

Pictures

None at present.

More Information

References

Other Sources

To be added.