Phantom with Greece

Last revised June 14, 2020

The Elliniki Polemiki Aeroporia (Hellenic Air Force) of Greece was an important Phantom user, having been supplied with F-4Es and RF-4Es newly manufactured by McDonnell, as well as by used Phantoms transferred to it from the USAF and the German Luftwaffe. In total, 121 Phantoms have been delivered to the EPA.

An initial contract, codenamed Peace Icarus was placed in 1971 for 36 F-4Es. These were delivered to Greece from March of 1974 onwards. However, they did not enter service in time to fight in the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974. Two attrition replacements were delivered in June of 1976. Follow-on contracts were issued for 18 F-4Es and 8 RF-4Es. The RF-4Es were delivered to Greece between June 1978 and April of 1979, whereas the follow-on F-4Es were delivered between May and December of 1978.

The F-4Es entered service in April of 1974 with 339 "Ajax" Mira (Squadron) based at Andravida, this unit converting from the F-84F Thunderstreak. This unit is tasked with the all-weather interception role, and is also the OCU for the Phantom. 338 "Ares" Mira (also based at Andravida) began to convert in 1975. 338 Mira is assigned the ground attack role.

In 1978, the follow-on order of F-4Es and RF-4Es were issued to 337 "Fantasma" Mira (squadron)/110 Pterix (wing) based at Larissa. The 337 Mira had previously flown Northrop F-5As as part of 111 Wing at Nea Ankhialos, and moved to Larissa to receive F-4Es. The RF-4Es were issued to 348 "Matia" Mira/110 Pterix based at Larissa, replacing the RF-84F in the reconnaissance role. However, the unit retained its RF-84Fs in the training role until 1990. In 1993, 29 ex-Luftwaffe RF-4Es were added to the strength of 348 Mira.

A proposal for the US to supply 40 surplus F-4Es to Greece was revealed in 1987. This order was delayed because of the political situation in Greece, but with the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and Operation Desert Storm>/i>, the situation changed and the order was approved. The proposal was later amended to involve 50 F-4Es and 19 F-4G Wild Weasels. In exchange, the Greek government agreed in July 1990 to an eight-year extension of the US bases agreement. The first stage of the agreement resulted in the promise of 28 F-4Es to Greece, drawn from the Indiana Air National Guard's 113th TFS and 163rd TFS. These planes were delivered to Greece in late 1991, entering service with 338 Mira.

Some of the EPA's older F-4Es have been modified in a manner similar to that of the USAF's F-4G Wild Weasel aircraft. Texas Instruments AGM-88A HARM missiles have also been supplied for these aircraft.

A series of upgrades are being carried out of EPA's F-4 fleet. In 1993, the EPA issued a request for proposals for upgrading and replacement of the original APQ-120 fire-control radar to make the EPA Phantom AMRAAM-capable. DASA (the German aerospace industry), Rockwell, and IAI (Israel Aircraft Industries) all submitted bids. However, IAI had to be ruled out on political considerations because it was also involved in upgrading Turkey's Phantom fleet. DASA was awarded the contract in August 1997 under a contract known as Peace Icarus 2000. The DASA proposal was quite similar to the Luftwaffe F-4F ICE upgrade with APG-65 radar, plus an additional GEC-Marconi HUD and GPS/INS. The first upgraded aircraft flew for the first time on April 28, 1999 at DASA's Manching facility. The remaining 37 aircraft are being upgraded by Hellenic Aerospace Industry at Tanagra from DASA-supplied kits. The upgraded EPA Phantom will be provided with Rafael LITENING sensor pods for targeting and navigation of close-support weapons such as precision-guided bombs and Raytheon AGM-65 Maverick missiles. All upgraded F-4s were equipped with the new AN/APQ-65YG radar similar to that of the F/A-18 Hornet, a new onboard Mission Control Computer (MCC), a Head Up Display, the IFF Interrogator, Multi Function Displays and were also capable of carrying a variety of advanced Air-to-Air and Air-to-Ground missiles. These included the AIM-120 AMRAAM (although only the -B edition), the AIM-9M missile, the AFDS and the entire family of the Paveway (I, II and III) laser-guided bombs.

The Hellenic AF operates 34 upgraded F-4E Peace Icarus 2000 (338 and 339 Squadrons) and 12 RF-4E (348 Squadron) as of September 2013. The Phantom remains an important part of Hellenic Air Force strength, and will continue to serve throughout the decade and into the next century. The following EPA units are currently equipped with the Phantom:

The USAF serial numbers of the planes known to have been delivered to Greece are listed in the following table. This listing includes new builds delivered to Greece under Foreign Military Sales and given USAF serial numbers for administrative purposes, as well as those used Phantoms turned over to Greece from the USAF and from the Luftwaffe.

67-0342/0398		McDonnell F-4E-36-MC Phantom
				0345 to Greece in 1991
				0350 to Greece in 1991
				0381 to Greece in 1991
68-0303/0365		McDonnell F-4E-37-MC Phantom
				0318 to Greece in 1991
				0361 to Greece in 1991
				0363 to Greece in 1991
68-0366/0395		McDonnell F-4E-38-MC Phantom
				0381 to Greece in 1991
				0393 to Greece in 1991
				0394 to Greece in 1991
68-0400/0409		McDonnell F-4E-38-MC Phantom
				0402 to Greece in 1991
				0405 to Greece in 1991
				0408 to Greece in 1991
68-0410/0413		McDonnell F-4E-39-MC Phantom
				0412 to Greece in 1991
68-0418/0433		McDonnell F-4E-39-MC Phantom
				0424 to Greece in 1991
				0426 to Greece in 1991
				0432 to Greece in 1991 
68-0438/0451		McDonnell F-4E-39-MC Phantom
				0438 to Greece in 1991 
				0440 to Greece in 1991 
				0442 to Greece in 1991 
				0444 to Greece in 1991 
				0445 to Greece in 1991 
68-0473/0483		McDonnell F-4E-40-MC Phantom
				0480 to Greece in 1991 
				0481 to Greece in 1991 
68-0495/0498		McDonnell F-4E-41-MC Phantom
				0496 to Greece in 1991 
68-0503/0518		McDonnell F-4E-41-MC Phantom
				0506 to Greece in 1991 
				0515 to Greece in 1991 
				0517 to Greece in 1991 
69-7448/7455		McDonnell RF-4E-43-MC Phantom (for Luftwaffe, 3501-3508)
69-7456/7462		McDonnell RF-4E-44-MC Phantom (for Luftwaffe, 3509-3515)
69-7463/7481		McDonnell RF-4E-45-MC Phantom (for Luftwaffe, 3516-3534)
69-7482/7510		McDonnell RF-4E-47-MC Phantom (for Luftwaffe, 3535-3563)
69-7511/7535		McDonnell RF-4E-47-MC Phantom (for Luftwaffe, 3564-3588)
				Some in 7448/7536 were transferred 
					to Greece in 1993
72-1500/1507		McDonnell F-4E-54-MC Phantom   
				new builds for Greece, 1974
72-1508/1523		McDonnell F-4E-55-MC Phantom   
				new builds for Greece, 1978 
72-1524/1535		McDonnell F-4E-56-MC Phantom   
				new builds for Greece, 1978
74-1618/1619		McDonnell F-4E-60-MC Phantom  
				new builds for Greece, 1974
77-357/358		McDonnell RF-4E-66-MC Phantom	
	 			new builds for Greece, 1978-79
77-1743/1750		McDonnell F-4E-65-MC Phantom	
				new builds for Greece, 1978
77-1751/1760		McDonnell F-4E-66-MC Phantom		
				new builds for Greece, 1978
77-1761/1766		McDonnell RF-4E-66-MC Phantom	
				new builds for Greece, 1978-79

In 2000, Greece decided to purchase a large number of fighters to replace the remaining non-upgraded F-4E Phantoms, a number of A-7 Corsairs, and the fleet of Mirage F1CGs. An order for 60 F-16 Block 52 Plus was placed.[13] The order was for 50 single-seaters of the C version and 10 two-seaters of the D version.

Although gradual retirement of F-4 units started in 2017 with view of replacing them with additional new F-16s, as of 2020 these aircraft are still operational in multi-role missions with the 338 Squadron ”Ares” and the 339 Squadron "Ajax” based in Andravida Air Force Base.[12] Recently, according to 338 Squadron "Ares" crews, the F-4E Phantom II PI2000(AUP) has been certified for use of GBU-27 Paveway III laser-guided bombs, making the aircraft an excellent and modern platform for precision strikes.


  1. McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Since 1920: Volume II, Rene J. Francillon, Naval Institute Press, 1990.

  2. McDonnell F-4 Phantom: Spirit in the Skies. Airtime Publishing, 1992.

  3. The American Fighter, Enzo Angelucci and Peter Bowers, Orion, 1987.

  4. Boeing/McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom Current Operations, World AirPower Journal, Vol 40, Spring 2000.

  5. Boeing/McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II Current Operations, World AirPower Journal, Vol 40, spring 2000.

  6. McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom, Wikipedia,

  7. Hellenic Air Force,