Egyptian and Greek naval and air forces have conducted a joint exercise in Greek territorial waters in the Mediterranean Sea. The "Medusa 5" drill, held from October 29 to November 4, 2017, included coordinated naval and air military operations, day and night sailing formations, search and rescue operations by naval units, as well as submarine tracking. The drill also included training in aerial scouting, defensive and offensive air strikes, and targeting or defending marine targets. The exercise was attended by top military officials from both Egypt and Greece.
The Hellenic Armed Forces participated with three FFG, two FPB, one Gunboat, one SUB, and one LST, as well as eight F-16, one AWACS, one Super Puma, four Chinooks, four AH-64 Apaches, and SOF. The Egyptian Armed Forces sent in one LHD Mistral aircraft carrier, one Fremn Frigate, two FPB, and one submarine (41), as well as six F-16, two C-130, one E2-C, SOF team, and technical support units. Observers from Cyprus, Italy, United Arab Emirates and the USA also participated in the exercise.
Greek Minister of Defense Panos Kammenos praised the joint drill, asserting that his country is keen on developing a military partnership with Egypt and expanding joint efforts to bolster security and stability in the region.
Commander of the Egyptian Naval Forces, General Ahmed Khaled confirmed that they seek to make the most of the drills, which aims at exchanging experiences and skills and enhancing the skills of the leadership bodies to plan and manage joint operations efficiently.
This is the second joint military exercise between Egypt and Greece this year, with the first in August 2017.
Turkey has declared that the exercise violated the international law as the exercise was conducted, among other locations, at the Greek island of Rhodes which Turkey considers as a de-militarized zone. It was reported that Turkish ships attempted to approach the area of the exercise in order to gather information, mainly through electronic warfare intelligence-gathering equipment.
Egyptian and Greek air and naval forces have conducted a joint military exercise in August 2017, dubbed Medusa 2017, in the Mediterranean.
During the exercise, Egypt has utilized some of its newly acquired weaponry such as a submarine and a Mistral-class Landing Helicopter Dock. Egyptian F-16 fighter jets took part in the exercises as well.
Units from the Egyptian air and naval forces participated in the Medusa 2016 drills together with Greek forces, in the southeast Aegean Sea and on the island of Crete from December 5-8, 2016.
The main training objectives included Improvement of the interoperability at the tactical level; Surface, anti-submarine, and anti-air warfare exercises; Encountering asymmetric threats; SAR; Gunfire exercises; Maritime Interdiction Operations (MIO) training provided by NMIOTC to the Egyptian SOF team members.
During the exercise, the Egyptian Navy Ships have been moored in Souda Naval Base. Furthermore, two HAF F-16 stationed in an Egyptian Air Force Base and the participating Egyptian F-16 operated from an air base in Crete.
The exercise included several activities that involve planning and administering joint naval operations, operating day and night sailing formations, maritime interception operations and inspecting suspicious ships, and search and rescue procedures.
During the drills, the air and naval forces of both countries have trained to secure offshore units using air-defense weapons; protect lines of communication and the movement of maritime transport. The exercise also dealt with training on communications exchange between units, naval vessels, offshore units and personnel to perform various drills at sea.
Egypt's Chief of Staff Mahmoud Hegazy attended the exercises along with Greek Chief of Hellenic National Defense General Staff Evangelos Apostolakis and a number of Egyptian and Greek commanders. Egyptian Chief of Staff Mahmoud Hegazy also had talks with Greek leaders on military cooperation.
Egypt and Greece have conducted a joint navy and air force exercise "Medusa 2015" on December 9-15, 2015, at the sea region of the southern Aegean, the Cretan Sea and the Libyan Sea. "Medusa 2015" included search and rescue exercises with the participation of warships and Super Puma helicopters, air-defense and electronic war exercises, fire exercises, technical and interception exercises.
Greece participates with frigates Psara and Nikiforos Fokas, the missile ship Daniolos, and ten F-16 fighter jets.
The Egyptian side saw the participation of the frigate Alexandria, the missile ships ENS M. Fahmy and ENS A. Gad, four F-16s stationed at Souda base, as well as six F-16 that operated from airbases in Egypt.
The chiefs of the Egyptian and the Greek Staff, Lt. Gen. Mahmoud Hegazy and Admiral Evangelos Apostolakis observed the exercise from the Greek frigate Psara and later from the Egyptian frigate Alexandria.
The Medusa 2015 drills coincided with President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi's visit to Greece.
Greece and Egypt have to respond to similar negative consequences of instability in the Middle East.
Egypt is the victim of Islamic extremism and terrorism, while Greece lives with the anxiety of terror threats. About a million refugees from Syria and Iraq crossed Greece on their way to Europe, while Egypt already hosts hundreds of thousands of refugees – most of them Syrians. Both countries have tense relations with Turkey.
The exercise "Medusa 5" came in the framework of the cooperation between the two countries to confront the Mediterranean growing challenges and as part of the Egyptian armed forces plan for exercises with friendly countries.
According to a statement by Egypt's army, the joint exercises aim at bolstering cooperation and exchange expertise between the armed forces of Egypt and Greece.