ARGONAUT 2024 | The large-scale multinational exercise has been completed – Participation of dozens of aeronautical assets
Defence Redefined
Published on 12/04/2024 at 09:45

The Multinational Civil-Military Cooperation Exercise “ARGONAUT 2024”, which took place in the sea, air and land area of the Republic of Cyprus, ended successfully. The said exercise was carried out with the cooperation of the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Civil Defence and the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC), under the general coordination of the National Guard General Staff (GEEF). Also, it was held with the participation of a large number of state agencies and services of the Republic of Cyprus.

The exercise was carried out in three phases and aimed to test the Special National Plans (SNPs) “ESTIA” and “TEFKROS”, which concern the reception of civilians from neighboring areas and Mass Search and Rescue incidents within the area of ​​responsibility of the Republic.

The 1st phase was carried out under the coordination of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and GEEF. Its scenario concerned the theoretical and practical application of SNP “ESTIA” and the evacuation and reception of civilians from a crisis area. Sixteen (16) state agencies of the Republic of Cyprus and representatives of the 24 states participating in the NEOCG (Non-combatant Evacuation Operations Coordination Group) participated in this phase.

The 2nd phase, focusing on Search and Rescue missions, was carried out under the operational coordination of JRCC and entailed a scenario of a naval and air accident in the land and sea area of ​​the Republic, with the application of SNP “TEFKROS”. A total of 27 aeronautical assets and 550 people from services of the Republic of Cyprus, Greece, the United Kingdom, France, the United States of America, Italy, Egypt and Israel participated in the Search and Rescue scenario.

The 3rd and final phase of the exercise, which also included the “Distinguished Visitors Day” (DV-Day), was held on April 11, 2024. This day entailed the practical implementation of SNP “ESTIA”, with a scenario focusing on mass arrivals of civilians of foreign countries to Cyprus and their reception and management by government agencies. The exercise was attended by the Coordination Centre “ZENON”, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Konstantinos Kombos, the Chief of the National Guard, Lieutenant General George Tsitsikostas, and ambassadors or representatives from 37 countries.

The objectives set by the Minister of Defence – the one responsible for the implementation of the exercise – have been achieved, as during the application of the National Plans the opportunity was given to strengthen the response, coordination and interoperability capabilities of the participants as well as the implementation and evaluation of the operational procedures of the services to deal with incidents of mass reception of civilians.

At the same time, at the international level, the successful execution of the exercise practically highlighted the highly important role that the Republic of Cyprus can play as a support hub for humanitarian operations and a pillar of stability in cases of crises in the wider region of the eastern Mediterranean.

The importance of the exercise and the readiness of the state services was demonstrated in the field, during the operations to evacuate civilians from Sudan and Israel via Cyprus, with the repatriation of a total of 3545 citizens from 32 countries.

Source: Ministry of Defence

Also read: JRCC | Procurement of an Aerostar TUAS – VIDEO




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