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.

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