Hellenic Armed Forces

The Hellenic Armed Forces (Greek: Eλληνικές Ένοπλες Δυνάμεις, Ellinikés Énoples Dynámis) are the combined ground, naval and air forces of Greece. They consist of the Hellenic National Defense General Staff, the Hellenic Army, the Hellenic Navy, and the Hellenic Air Force.

The civilian authority overseeing the Hellenic Armed Forces is the Ministry of National Defense.

Hellenic Armed Forces
Eλληνικές Ένοπλες Δυνάμεις
Coat of arms of Greece military variant
Current form1975
Service branchesHellenic National Defence General Staff HNDGS
Hellenic Army Hellenic Army
Hellenic Navy Hellenic Navy
Hellenic Air Force Hellenic Air Force
HeadquartersAthens, Greece
Commander-in-Chief President Prokopis Pavlopoulos
Minister of National Defense Evangelos Apostolakis
Chief of the General Staff Christos Christodoulou
Military age18 years of age
Available for
military service
2,535,174 males, age 15–49 (2008 est.[3]),
2,517,273 females, age 15–49 (2008 est.[3])
Fit for
military service
2,084,469 males, age 15–49 (2008 est.[3]),
2,065,956 females, age 15–49 (2008 est.[3])
Reaching military
age annually
53,858 males (2008 est.[3]),
50,488 females (2008 est.[3])
Active personnel200.000 (2017)[1]
wartime strength:
over 750.000[2]
Budget€4,9 billion (2016)[4]
Percent of GDP2.27% (2018)
Domestic suppliersELBO, EAS (EBO, Pyrkal), Miltech, KEA, EAB, Theon, Sunlight, IDE, Elfon, HDVS, Elmon, Apella, Metka, VEMEKEP, BOSA, SIELMAN, Akmon, ISI, Valpak, Thales, Prisma, SSMART, TELETEL, Intracom, Barracuda, Motomarine, Elefsis Shipyards, Neorion, GAL, Axon, Spider, Vipon, TEMMA, Grantex, Kampakas, Kouimtzis Group, Hellenic Shipyards Co., Kioleides, EODH, BSK Defense, OMI Ordtech, HAT
Foreign suppliers Brazil
 United Kingdom
 United States
Related articles
HistoryMilitary history of Greece
RanksGreek military ranks

General information


Greece currently has universal compulsory military service for males from and over 18 years of age. Under Greek law, all men over 18 years of age must serve in the Armed Forces for a period of 9 months. Women can serve in the Greek military on a voluntary basis, but cannot be conscripted.


According to NATO sources in 2008, Greece spent 2.8% of GDP on its military, which translated to approximately €6.9 billion (US $9.3 billion).[5] In 2008, Greece was the largest importer of conventional weapons in Europe and its military spending was the highest in the European Union relative to the country’s GDP, reaching twice the European average.[6][5]

Data for the 2017 fiscal year showed an estimated expense of €4.3 billion in constant 2010 prices, or €4.2 billion in current prices, equivalent to 2.38% of GDP (+0.01 change since 2016). For the 2018 fiscal year, the expenditure was estimated at €4.3 billion in constant 2010 prices or €4.1 billion in current prices, equivalent to 2.27% of GDP (-0.11% change since 2017)[7].

Military personnel

Military personnel was estimated at approximately 106,000 for year 2017 and 105,000 for year 2018[8].

International operations

Greece is an EU and NATO member and currently participates primarily in peacekeeping operations. Such operations are ISAF in Afghanistan, EUFOR in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Chad, and KFOR in Kosovo.

Component forces and their organization

Hellenic National Defense General Staff

The Hellenic National Defense General Staff has the operational command of the Joint Armed Forces Headquarters and the units that operate under them. It is also responsible for organising and implementing routine operations and exercises of the Joint Armed Forces, coordinating and implementing operations during the management of wartime and piecetime crises and overseeing operations of the Hellenic Armed Forces outside Greek national territory.[9]

Hellenic Army

The basic components of the Hellenic Army are Arms and Corps. The former is responsible for combat missions and the latter for logistical support. It is organized in Commands, Formations, and Units with the main being brigade, division and corps. Its main mission is to guarantee the territorial integrity and independence of the country.[9]

Hellenic Navy

The Hellenic Navy incorporates a modern fleet consisting of strike units, such as frigates, gunboats, submarines and fast attack guided missile vessels and multiple types of support vessels, in order to be able to conduct naval operations that protect Greek national interests and guarantee the integrity of Greek territorial waters, the mainland and the islands.[9]

Hellenic Air Force

The Hellenic Air Force incorporates a modern aircraft fleet and congruent structure, combined with a comprehensive air defense system that consists of a widespread network of anti-aircraft weapons. The structure, which is overseen by the Air Force General Staff, includes the Tactical Air Force Command, the Air Force Support Command, the Air Force Training Command and a number of other independent defense units and services[9]. Its’ main mission is to defend Greek airspace and to provide combat support to the Hellenic Army and the Hellenic Navy.

See also


  1. ^ http://eda.europa.eu/info-hub/defence-data-portal/Greece/year/2015#2
  2. ^ Ελληνική Άμυνα και Τεχνολογία, Ετήσια Ισορροπία Δυνάμεων 2019–2020, Εκδόσεις Δυρός
  3. ^ CIA World Factbook, [1]
  4. ^ [http://www.eda.europa.eu/info-hub/defence-data-portal/Greece/year/2016 Defense spending by EU countries]
  5. ^ a b "Greece - Military Spending". globalsecurity.org.
  6. ^ Frank Slijper (April 2013). "Guns, Debt and Corruption Military spending and the EU crisis" (PDF).
  7. ^ https://www.nato.int/nato_static_fl2014/assets/pdf/pdf_2018_07/20180709_180710-pr2018-91-en.pdf
  8. ^ https://www.nato.int/nato_static_fl2014/assets/pdf/pdf_2018_07/20180709_180710-pr2018-91-en.pdf
  9. ^ a b c d http://www.mod.mil.gr/Pages/MainAnalysisPage2.asp?HyperLinkID=2&MainLinkID=25

External links

1st Raider/Paratrooper Brigade (Greece)

The 1st Raider/Paratrooper Brigade (Greek: 1η ΤΑΞΚΔ-ΑΛ - 1η Ταξιαρχία Kαταδρομών-Αλεξιπτωτιστών, romanized: 1 TAXKD-AL - 1 Taxiarhia Katadromon-Alexiptotiston), is a brigade-sized formation of elite Greek light infantry and special operations forces. The formation is more commonly referred to as the Raider Forces (Greek: Δυνάμεις Kαταδρομών, romanized: Dynameis Katadromon), and a soldier belonging to the Brigade a Raider (Greek: Kαταδρομέας, Kαταδρομείς, romanized: Katadromeas, Katadromeis).

Adcor A-556

The ADCOR A-556 is an assault rifle based on the M16/M4 series. It is produced by the Adcor Defense Company and was one of the contenders in the US Army Individual Carbine Competition to replace the M4 Carbine.

Aegean Sea Naval Command

Aegean Sea Naval Command (Greek: Ναυτική Διοίκηση Αιγαίου, ΝΔΑ), formerly the Southern Aegean Naval Command (Ναυτική Διοίκηση Νοτίου Αιγαίου, ΝΔΝΑ), is a regional command of the Hellenic Navy covering the eastern coasts of mainland Greece and most of the Aegean Sea and the Aegean islands.

Alkiviadis Stefanis

General Alkiviadis Stefanis (Greek: Αλκιβιάδης Στεφανής) is a Greek army officer who in 2017–2019 served as Chief of the Hellenic Army General Staff.

Christos Adamidis

Christos Adamidis (Greek: Χρήστος Αδαμίδης, 1885–1949) was a Greek pioneer aviator and Air Force general. He was one of the first three Greek officers that received aviation training and later participated in air operations during the Balkan Wars (1912–1913).

Dionysios Arbouzis

Dionysios Arbouzis (Greek: Διονύσιος Αρμπούζης) was a Greek Army officer who rose to the rank of general and held the position of Chief of the Hellenic Armed Forces in 1974–76, after the fall of the Greek military junta. Arbouzis with more than 13 years of combat experience, participated in World War II, in the Greek Civil War and the Korean War.Arbouzis graduated from the Hellenic Army Academy and participated as an officer of the Greek Army in the major conflicts of World War II in Greece: Greco-Italian War (1940–1941), Battle of Greece (1941), as well as the Greek Civil War (1946–1949). He is also notable as a commander of the Greek Expeditionary Force in Korea during the Korean War, as the first commander (as a colonel, in 1960) of the Hellenic Force in Cyprus, and as a commander of the Hellenic Army Academy (as a major general, in 1965–66). In 1967, at the time of the 21 April coup, he was Second Deputy Chief of the Hellenic Army General Staff, and was well known for his dedication to the constitutional order. On the day of the coup, he was arrested by the plotters and dismissed from the army by the new regime. He was recalled to active service, promoted to full general and installed as head of the armed forces after the fall of the junta in August 1974, and held the position until 1976. In 1977, he served for a month (21 October – 28 November) as Minister for Northern Greece under Konstantinos Karamanlis in the caretaker cabinet during the 1977 legislative elections.

He died in 1987 and is buried in the First Cemetery of Athens, on February 3.


ERT1 (Greek: ΕΡΤ1), is the flagship television network of state-owned broadcaster ERT (Greek: Ελληνική Ραδιοφωνία Τηλεόραση). It was launched in 1966 as a television service of the National Radio and Television Foundation.

EIRT became ERT, then ERT1, ENA and ET1 before being closed by the Greek government in 2013, when it was mainly an entertainment and cultural channel but also broadcast documentaries, news, sports and children's shows. On 11 June 2015 ERT was reopened and the ERT1 name was restored, technically replacing NERIT1 which had been launched by the previous government in 2014 as part of the New Hellenic Radio, Internet and Television (Greek: Νέα Ελληνική Ραδιοφωνία, Ίντερνετ και Τηλεόραση, abbrev. NΕΡIΤ or NERIT). ERT1's programming is focused towards that of a generalistic TV network, being composed of talk shows, movies, popular foreign TV series and some cultural shows.


ERT2 (Greek: ΕΡΤ2; short for Ellinikí Radiophonia Tileórasi 2; Greek: Ελληνική Ραδιοφωνία Τηλεόραση 2; Greek for Hellenic Radio and Television 2), formerly NET (short for Néa Ellinikí Tileórasi; Greek: Νέα Ελληνική Τηλεόραση; Greek for New Hellenic Television), is the second television network of the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (Greek: Ελληνική Ραδιοφωνία Τηλεόραση), the public broadcaster of Greece. It broadcasts documentaries, talkshows, current affairs programs, sporting events and children's shows.

It was originally referred to as ERT2 and ET2 (short for Ellinikí Tileórasi 2; Greek: Ελληνική Τηλεόραση 2; Greek for Hellenic Television 2) but the name was later changed to NET, before changing back to ERT2 by technically replacing NERIT Plus. Amid protests of the government's decision to close the public broadcaster, ERT staff continued to operate NET via satellite and internet. until November 7, 2013, when riot police stormed into ERT headquarters and took the internet programming of NET off the air.

Greek Armed Forces in the Middle East

After the fall of Greece to the Axis powers in April–May 1941, elements of the Greek Armed Forces managed to escape to the British-controlled Middle East. There they were placed under the Greek government in exile, and continued the fight alongside the Allies until the liberation of Greece in October 1944. These are known in Greek history as the Greek Armed Forces in the Middle East (Ελληνικές Ένοπλες Δυνάμεις Μέσης Ανατολής).

Greek Independence Day

Celebration of the start of the Greek Independence revolution is a national holiday in Greece, Cyprus as well as in the Greek diaspora commemorating the Greek War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire, and the formation of an independent Greek state. The day is celebrated on the 25th of March and coincides with the Greek Orthodox Church’s celebration of the Annunciation to the Theotokos.

Hellenic Air Force

The Hellenic Air Force (HAF; Greek: Πολεμική Αεροπορία, Polemikí Aeroporía, literally "War Aviation", sometimes abbreviated as ΠΑ) is the air force of Greece with ‘Hellenic’ being a synonym for ‘Greek’ in the Greek language. During the period of monarchy between 1935–1973 the force was known as the Royal Hellenic Air Force (RHAF) (Greek: Ἑλληνικὴ Βασιλικὴ Ἀεροπορία, Ellinikí Vasilikí Aeroporía).

The mission of the Hellenic Air Force is to guard and protect Greek airspace, provide air assistance and support to the Hellenic Army and the Hellenic Navy, as well as the provision of humanitarian aid in Greece and around the world. The Hellenic Air Force includes approximately 33,000 active troops, of whom 11,750 are career officers, 14,000 are professional conscripts (ΕΠ.ΟΠ.), 7,250 are volunteer conscripts and 1,100 are women. The motto of the Hellenic Air Force is the ancient Greek phrase Αἰὲν Ὑψικρατεῖν (Aièn Hypsikrateîn, "Always Dominate the Heights"), and the HAF ensign represents a flying eagle in front of the Hellenic Air Force roundel. The Hellenic Air Force is one of the three branches of the Hellenic Armed Forces.

Hellenic Army

The Hellenic Army (Greek: Ελληνικός Στρατός, Ellinikós Stratós, sometimes abbreviated as ΕΣ), formed in 1828, is the land force of Greece (with Hellenic being a synonym for Greek). Along with the Hellenic Air Force (HAF) and the Hellenic Navy (HN), it makes up the Hellenic Armed Forces. It is currently the largest branch of the three. The army is headed by the chief of the Hellenic Army General Staff (HAGS), which in turn is under the command of Hellenic National Defence General Staff (HNDGS).

The motto of the Hellenic Army is Ἐλεύθερον τὸ Εὔψυχον (Eleútheron tò Eúpsychon), "Freedom Stems from Valour", from Thucydides's History of the Peloponnesian War (2.43.4), a remembrance of the ancient warriors that defended Greek lands in old times. The Hellenic Army Emblem is the two-headed eagle with a Greek Cross escutcheon in the centre, representing the links between modern Greece, the Greek Orthodox Church, and the Byzantine Empire.

The Hellenic Army is also the main contributor to, and "lead nation" of, the Balkan Battle Group, a combined-arms rapid-response force under the EU Battlegroup structure.

Hellenic National Defence General Staff

The Hellenic National Defence General Staff (Greek: Γενικό Επιτελείο Εθνικής Άμυνας, abbr. ΓΕΕΘΑ) is the senior staff of the Hellenic Armed Forces. It was established in 1950, when the separate armed services ministries were consolidated into the Ministry of National Defence. Its role in peacetime was as a coordinating and senior consultative body at the disposal of the Greek government, and in wartime as the overall headquarters of the Armed Forces. In recent years, through ongoing efforts at increased inter-services cooperation and integration, the HNDGS has assumed peacetime operational control over the separate branches. Between 19 December 1968 and 10 August 1977, the HNDGS was abolished, and the Armed Forces Headquarters (Greek: Αρχηγείο Ενόπλων Δυνάμεων, abbr. ΑΕΔ) established in its place.

Hellenic Navy

The Hellenic Navy (HN; Greek: Πολεμικό Ναυτικό, Polemikó Naftikó, abbreviated ΠΝ) is the naval force of Greece, part of the Hellenic Armed Forces. The modern Greek navy has its roots in the naval forces of various Aegean Islands, which fought in the Greek War of Independence. During the periods of monarchy (1833–1924 and 1936–1973) it was known as the Royal Hellenic Navy (Βασιλικόν Ναυτικόν, Vasilikón Naftikón, abbreviated ΒΝ).

The total displacement of the fleet is approximately 150,000 tons and it is the 22nd largest Navy in the world by total number of vessels. The HN also operates a number of naval aviation units.

The motto of the Hellenic Navy is "Μέγα τὸ τῆς θαλάσσης κράτος" from Thucydides' account of Pericles' oration on the eve of the Peloponnesian War. This has been translated as "The rule of the sea is a great matter". The Hellenic Navy's emblem consists of an anchor in front of a crossed Christian cross and trident, with the cross symbolizing Greek Orthodoxy, and the trident symbolizing Poseidon, the god of the sea in Greek mythology. Pericles' words are written across the top of the emblem.

The navy, as it represents a necessary weapon for Greece, should only be created for war and aim to victory.

Medal of Military Merit (Greece)

The Medal of Military Merit (Greek: Μετάλλιο Στρατιωτικής Αξίας) is a military decoration of Greece. It was originally created in 1916 for wartime meritorious service, but post-World War II became a peace-time medal reserved for officers. After the abolition of the Greek monarchy in 1974, its design was slightly altered.

Ministry of National Defence (Greece)

The Ministry of National Defence (Greek: Υπουργείο Εθνικής Άμυνας, abbreviated ΥΠΕΘΑ), is the civilian cabinet organisation responsible for managing the Hellenic Armed Forces, the leader of which is, according to the Constitution (Article 45), the President of the Republic but their administration is exercised only by the Prime Minister and the Government of Greece. It is located at 227-231 Messogion Avenue, in the Papagos camp (Pentagon) in Athens, between Papagos and Holargos.

Today is hierarchically ranked 3rd in the rankings of ministries, according to a decision of the Prime Minister (Government Gazette B / 1594 / 25-6-2013). The highest position in the history of the Ministry was the second, behind the ministry of the presidency of the government, on the last government of Andreas Papandreou (1993-1996).

It is considered to be a ministry of particular prestige and is one of the most desirable to the members of each government, because it oversees the Armed Forces, manages huge sums of money, and is usually away from the woes and the wear and tear of everyday life.

Since 15 January 2019, the Minister for National Defence is the former Chief of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff, retired admiral Evangelos Apostolakis.

National Unity Association

The National Unity Association (Greek: Σύνδεσμος Εθνικής Ενότητας, romanized: Sýndesmos Ethnikís Enótitas) is a Greek political party, founded by retired officers of the Hellenic Armed Forces. The president of the party is Anargyros Saripapas. Its ideology is social and romantic patriotism. It first participated in the Greek legislative election, May 2012.

Northern Greece Naval Command

Northern Greece Naval Command (Greek: Ναυτική Διοίκηση Βορείου Ελλάδος, ΝΔΒΕ), formerly the Northern Aegean Naval Command (Ναυτική Διοίκηση Βορείου Αιγαίου, ΝΔΒΑ), is a regional command of the Hellenic Navy covering the coasts of northern Greece and the northern Aegean Sea, from the Greco-Turkish border at the mouth of the river Evros to Mount Pelion.

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