The Cyprus Air Force has been significantly upgraded in the past couple of years, through joint exercises conducted in cooperation with friendly countries, Defence Minister Christoforos Fokaides said on Tuesday.
Fokaides visited the Andreas Papandreou military airbase in Paphos to attend celebrations to mark the day of Archangel Michael, the patron saint of the air force. Celebrations included a religious service, preceded by wreath-laying at a monument dedicated to fallen airmen.
Addressing the event, Fokaides praised the significant contribution of the air force in search and rescue operations, adding that this enhances the role of Cyprus in promoting security and stability in the region.
Plans to restructure the National Guard, he said, lay particular emphasis on supporting air and naval forces with additional means, in an effort to facilitate their operations.
He added that within the next few days the air force will be reinforced with a significant number of professional soldiers, which will be an investment in the work that is being carried out.
Air force commander Gavriel Demetriou, said that the air base in Paphos has excellent infrastructure and provides support facilities to missions of other countries participating in peacekeeping operations. “In this way, the geostrategic importance of Cyprus in the wider Middle East is highlighted”.
President of the House Defence Committee Marinos Sizopoulos said that the air force is constantly improving its combat capabilities, even during peace time, providing additional means for search and rescue missions and for defending the Republic of Cyprus and its exclusive economic zone.