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Greece Military


The armed forces of Greece (Hellas) consist of the Hellenic Army, the Hellenic Navy and Hellenic Air Force. The civilian authority for the Greek military is the Ministry of National Defence. Greece currently has universal compulsory military service for males; however, this system is likely to be changed soon. See Conscription in Greece for more information. Women may serve in the Greek military, but cannot be conscripted. Greece is a NATO member country.

The Hellenic Army (ES, Ellinikos Stratos) of the modern nation of Greece has a history of nearly 190 years and came to its present form, gradually through those years. It was formed shortly after the creation of the State of Greece in 1828. The first tactical army battalion was established in August, 1828 after the respective order was given by the first head of state of the independent Greece, Ioannis Capodistrias. The new tactical army would replace the irregular military bands of the capetanei (commanders) who had led the revolt against Ottoman Empire in 1821.

After two major reorganisations in the last five years, currently the Hellenic Army consists of two major commands, the Hellenic Army General Staff-HAGS and the Hellenic National Defense General Staff-HNDGS.

Formations under the command of HAGS include the I and IV Army Corps, tasked with the defence of the terrestrial borders; the Supreme Military Command of Interior and Islands, which is responsible for the Aegean islands; the Supreme Military Support Command, which provides logistic support to the Army; and the Order of Battle, Training and Inspection Command, which oversees the administration, education and training of the officer corps. The other component of the Hellenic Army, HNDGS, commands the II Army Corps, which functions as the rapid reaction force of the Hellenic Army and comprises special, elite and aviation forces.

The modern Greek navy has its roots in the naval forces of various Aegean Islands, which fought in the Greek War of Independence. During the periods of monarchy (1833-1924 and 1936-1973) it was known as the Royal Hellenic Navy (Vasilikón Naftikón). The United States has one major naval base on Greek soil and several smaller installations.

The Hellenic Navy (EPN, Ellinikos Polemiko Navtiko) was enhanced to its maximum point during the last decade. The arrivals of Hydra class and more Standard class frigates along with the orders for more missile corvettes, Poseidon class Type 209 submarine submarines and naval helicopters allowed the retirement of the obsolete vessels. At the same time, Greece was the first Mediterranean country to receive guided missile destroyers, after the transfer of four Charles F. Adams class destroyers from the US Navy in 1992. All four have since been decommissioned since their electronics and missiles were considered not able to stand in a modern battlefield.

The advance continued when Greece ordered Type 214 submarines that feature an air-independent propulsion system, Sikorsky S-70B-6/10 Aegean Hawk helicopters and Project 1232.2 Zubr class hovercrafts from Russia.

Current plans include the modernisation of Standard class frigates with new electronics and radar systems, the modernisation of Glaukos and Poseidon class submarines with new sonars, electronics and air-independent propulsion engines (programs Neptune 1/2), while negotiations are being held with the US Navy for the concession of two Arleigh Burke class destroyers.

The Hellenic Air Force, (HAF, Polemikí Aeroporía), is the air force of Greece. The mission of the Hellenic Air Force is to guard and protect the Greek air space, provide air assistance and support to the Hellenic Army and the Hellenic Navy as well as humanitarian aid (upon request) in Greece and around the world.
During the period of monarchy (1935-1973) the force was known as the Hellenic Royal Air Force (EBA, Ellinikí Vasilikí Aeroporía).

As of 2007, the Hellenic Air Force has a fighter fleet of 275 modern or upgraded aircraft. Due to the retirement of units that have ended their operational life, the HAF is looking forward to acquiring new 4th, 4.5th or 5th generation fighters in order to reach a total number of 300 advanced fighters, according to the 2007 Supreme Air Force Council Momentum which was published in 2007. This goal is to be gradually reached by 2015. Prime candidates for a 4.5th or 5th generation aircraft are the Eurofighter Typhoon, F-35 Lightning II (JSF), JAS 39 Gripen and Dassault Rafale.


Military branches:
Hellenic Army (Ellinikos Stratos, ES), Hellenic Navy (Ellinikos Polemiko Navtiko, EPN), Hellenic Air Force (Elliniki Polimiki Aeroporia, EPA) (2007)

Military service age and obligation:
18 years of age for compulsory military service; during wartime the law allows for recruitment beginning January of the year of inductee's 18th birthday, thus including 17 year olds; 17 years of age for volunteers; conscript service obligation - 12 months for the Army, Air Force; 15 months for Navy; women are eligible for voluntary military service (2007)

Manpower available for military service:
males age 18-49: 2,459,988
females age 18-49: 2,442,818 (2005 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:
males age 18-49: 2,018,557
females age 18-49: 2,000,650 (2005 est.)

Manpower reaching military service age annually:
males age 18-49: 58,399
females age 18-49: 55,571 (2005 est.)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
4.3% (2005 est.)





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