Boy this thing has some history, and I had to condense it. Greek F-104G serial number FG-7151 actually started life as an F-104G meant for the Luftwaffe. Produced by Messerschmitt and manufactured by ARGE-Süd, the aircraft received the company model number 683-10-19. Construction of the airframe started at Messerschmitt-Manching on the 5th of February 1964 as a fighter-bomber version as part of contract lot 5. It received a ‘norm 62’ camouflage scheme and flew for the first time on the 17th of April 1964.
The aircraft was soon delivered at Manching Air Base in August of that same year, receiving its official id serial 22+70. Like many German Starfighters, the aircraft almost became another coffin when the pilot hit a powerline at 50m altitude during the “Silver Tower” exercize at Verrasundet fjord in September 1968. Although half of a stabilizer was damaged, the pilot initiated and completed an emergency landing at Oerland Airbase. The aircraft was flown back to Germany inside a USAF C-74 for repairs at Messerschmitt. In 1971 the aircraft was repainted in a ‘norm 76’ camouflage scheme and later that same year it was overhauled at SABCA in Belgium, having logged 925 flight hours. 10 years later in 1981 the aircraft was withdrawn from service with a total of 2.355 flight hours.
That same year the aircraft was handed over to the Hellenic air force on the 9th of November, coded FG-7151 and delivered to the 336th squadron ‘Olympus’ of the 116 Pterix (Combat wing) based at Araxos air base. There it flew many mission until in 1992, the aircraft received a special paint job to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the squadron. For this is was painted blue with an abstracted eagle painted over the fuselage and wings in black and mountains on the nose and tail section. Instead of the Hellenic Air Force roundel a Macedonian sun was painted on the intakes, although it retained the Greek fin flash.
Sadly the celebrations were relatively short-lived because by March 1993 the aircraft type was officially withdrawn from service with the Hellenic air force. Luckily this particular aircraft was preserved at the Helliniki Aeroporia Moussio (Hellenic AF Museum) at Tatoi Airbase. The aircraft received a ‘small restoration’ (basically it received some paint touch ups) in July of 2019.
The Starfighter with the Greek Air Force and 336th Olympus squadron.
In the late 60’s the RHAF ordered several new jet aircraft, which included F-102 Delta Daggers, Northrop F-5’s and F-104 Starfighters. In total approximately 146 aircraft were ordered consisting of F-104G’s, TF-104’s and RF-104G’s which entered service in 1964. While the F-102 was retired in 1977 and the F-5 was in service until 2001, the F-104 stayed in service with the Greek air force until 1993.
One of the Greek squadrons outfitted with the F-104 Starfighter was the 336 Μοίρα Βομβαρδισμού (336th Bomber Squadron) which uses the Callsign Olympus, derived from the highest mountain in Greece Mount Olympus, which borders between Thessaly and Macedonia and is home to the Greek gods according to Greek Mythology. Based at Araxos Air Base, it is currently the second oldest Greek squadron still in service finding its roots in the fall of Greece to the Wehrmacht in 1943, when the Greek government in exile established it to fight alongside the Allies in the Middle East operating under British command.
After the war, the squadron took part in operations during the Greek Civil War, after which it was rebased in Larissa and re-equipped with SB2C Helldiver dive bomber. Later it also operated F-84G and F-84F aircraft. On the 15th of January 1965 the squadron was partially equipped with F-104G Starfighters which was moved to Tanagra. The remainder of the squadron still outfitted with F-84F’s were redesignated as 349 Fighter-Bomber squadron.
By 1966 the 336th returned to Araxos where it still operates to this day. In March of 1993 the squadron was equopped with a batch of 62 A-7E Corsair II surplus aircraft handed over from the USAF used in the Gulf War. It is the last squadron in the World to still operate the A-7 Corsair II.
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