Dino van Doorn and Hans van der Wilt report for GMAP from Larissa; Greece.
348 MTA: The End Of The Film
By the end of 2016 it became clear that the inevitable was going to happen: Greece was going to withdraw its RF-4 fleet in 2017. In March 2017 the final date was set: May 05 2017 was going to be a sad day for both the Πολεμική Αεροπορία (Hellenic Air Force) and 348MTA in particular.
The history of the RF-4E in service with the HAF goes back to November 1978; when the first of eight aircraft was delivered from the factories of McDonnell Douglas (Saint Louis – MO); to Larisa airbase. The RF-4 was bought to enhance the photo reconnaissance role within the HAF, which at that time was performed mainly by the RF-84F.
Due to the fact that the RF-84 was finally withdrawn early 1991 (and meanwhile three RF-4’s were lost in tragic incidents); the HAF started to look for alternatives to re-enforce its recce-fleet. By May 1993, the first of a total of 27 former German Air Force RF-4E’s was delivered to Tanagra airbase for in-depth inspections at Hellenic Aerospace Industry. Eventually twenty aircraft were added to the fleet, the remaining seven being used as spare-parts.