At the same time the tripartite energy agreement will be signed between Greece, Israel and Cyprus on Thursday at Kavouri of Vouliagmeni, Athens, in the presence of Richard Morningstar, the special envoy of the US Foreign Affairs Ministry, a large-scale aeronautical military exercise will be taking place in the Southern Mediterranean.
According to defencenet.gr, Greece, Israel and USA will launch their joint military exercise from Crete to Haifa against “virtual enemy forces” that bear great resemblance to the Turkish aeronautical forces in this particular military operation scenario.
“Noble Dina” was initially planned to take place in April just like in 2011. However, it was decided that the military exercise should coincide with the date of the energy agreement signing between the three countries of the Southeastern Mediterranean. Thus, it would underline that the cooperation between Israel, Greece and the US does not only concern energy but military affairs as well.
Defencenet.gr reported that the implied “message” goes to Ankara, which for the time is a barrier to the common interests of Israel and USA in the broader region. The exercise is taking place only a few days after Turkey had claimed that the same thing that happened in Imia would also happen to the Eastern Mediterranean.
The military exercise will start from the US Air base in Souda, pass south through Megisti and the shores of Cyprus and will reach the shores of Israel. Last year, “Noble Dina” was conducted between April 3rd and 14th and included eight vessels, two submarines, helicopters and aircraft and four Greek F-16 Block 52 combat jets.
Until 2012, the exercise was strictly conducted by the Israeli and American forces. The new military operation scenarios include exercises of repelling enemy attacks against offshore natural gas and oil rigs, anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare and prohibition of military aircraft operations.
Greece will join the exercise with combat jets, at least one frigate and one submarine.