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Ministers visit Air Force fire fighters

The ministers of defense and citizen protection visited the crews and staff of fire fighting aircraft marking the beginning of the fire season.

The two ministers visited 112 Combat Wing at Eleusis and inspected the 355 Tactical Transport Squadron. They even sat in the cockpit of one of the aircraft and were photographed. The visit took place during the fire season. The two ministers accompanied the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Air Marshal Evangelos Tournas and the Chief of the Fire Brigade, Lieutenant General Vassilios Papageorgiou.

In particular Messers Avramopoulos and Kikilias were briefed about the problems spare parts and availability of firefighting aircraft, but also the dearth of support personnel, deployed for operational reasons to advanced bases, with Canadair CL-215 and CL-415GR, and PZL M-18 fire fighting aircraft.

However both ministers publicly announced their intention to address the problem of an "aging" fire fighting aircraft fleet very quickly and together the two ministries will begin the procurement process"some time in the future", as Dimitris Avramopoulos stated so “new firefighting aircraft can replace the current fleet. "

The defense minister described the work of the flight and technical staff of the firefighting aircraft squadrons as a "Herculean task, implemented under extremely harsh conditions”, and thanked them on behalf of the State for their contribution to this society.

Vasilis Kikilias also thanked pilots and technicians for their work, including the staff of the Fire Brigade, the volunteers and the relevant local authority, and stated that the aim of the two ministries is to begin to replace the existing fleet of aging aircraft, while also sending a call to all citizens to protect the forest wealth of the country.

The two ministers visited the headquarters of the historic 355 Tactical Transport Squadron, where they were briefed by the commander 112 Squadron Colonel (I) Mandouvalos for current availability of firefighting aircraft and the serious problems that have to be dealt with by the Air Force and d the Fire Brigade.

MoD current availability is 13 a CL-215/415 aircraft, which will rise to 15 in a week, after the delivery of two more aircraft now in different phases of factory inspection, along with 17 single-engined PZL M-18 Dromander.