NAMFI (NATO Missile Firing Installation)
The NATO Missile Firing Installation [NAMFI] is NATO's main Firing Range on the island of Crete in Greece, close to the town of Chania. Though Chania is a modern city the interior is a labyrynth of old Venetian houses that you can wander around with only an occasional reminder of the twentieth century. The port is actually in Souda Bay, but there are buses and taxis available to take you right into the city.
In July 1994, in company with USS San Jacinto, USS Santa Barbara and a detachment from VC-6, USS Belknap ran an open ocean missile exercise on the Namfi missile range north of Souda Bay, Crete. One of the last ships in the Navy to carry the SM-1(ER) (Terrier), the thirty-year-old cruiser followed the drone target controlled by VC-6 on the first run. The second presentation of the drone was Belknap's chance to shoot. With the drone at thirteen miles, fifty feet, above sea level, Belknap engaged. San Jacinto was next to shoot, and the AEGIS cruiser successfully fired an SM2 missile. The missile exercise turned out to be a great success, highlighted by a professional range control ashore at the Namfi range and a superb recovery job by the Santa Barbara helicopter detachment.
The Aegis guided missile cruiser USS Cape St. George (CG 71), on the maiden deployment to the Mediterranean, scored two kills in combined missile firing exercises conducted on 26 January 1995 with other units of the USS Dwight D Eisenhower Battle Group. The purpose of the exercise was to train personnel in the safe and effective employment of the ship's Aegis combat system in antiship missile defense using realistic, challenging targets. The NATO Missile Firing Installation (NAMFI) in Souda Bay, Crete provided range control, surveillance, target launching facilities and telemetry support for the missilex. NAMFI fired high speed target drones, which simulated air-to-surface and surface-to-surface antiship cruise missiles, against the ships using various flight profiles and different degrees of engageability. Cape St. George's well-trained crew and fully integrated Aegis combat system performed flawlessly, detecting, tracking and engaging the targets with two well-placed SM-2 standard missiles.
Exercise firing of the air forces of the Netherlands, Greece and Germany on the island of Crete is ensured for the years to come. DaimlerChrysler Aerospace AG (Dasa/Munich) has again been awarded by the Greek Defence Ministry to implement on Crete aerial target simulation for tactical firing with the antiaircraft and air defence systems Patriot, Roland and Hawk. The new contract has a duration of three years (order volume of 15 million euros) with the option for an additional 5-year contract term (order volume of 25 million euros). Target simulation for the NATO Missile Firing Installation (NAMFI), near Chania, has been performed by the prime contractor Dornier GmbH, a corporate unit of Dasa, in cooperation with the Italian company METEOR since 1988. Approaching aircraft are simulated by the Meteor drones of the type Mirach 100. The Mirach 100 family of targets has been successful in all international arenas, with particular reference to the RAM and IRIS-T missile qualification trials and to the NATO Tactical Firing exercises in Crete NAMFI Range.
Patriot soldiers from 6th Battalion, 52nd Air Defense Artillery out of Ansbach, Germany received a once in a lifetime opportunity on October 26, 2000. A select crew of air defenders traveled to the Mediterranean Island of Crete to fire a live Patriot missile in conjunction with their German Air Defense Counterparts, as part of a training exercise held by the NATO Missile Firing Institute (NAMFI).This marked only the second Patriot missile fired in the European Theater, last year's NAMFI range being the first. The training exercise itself consisted of three days of intense preventive maintenance, checks and services as well as crewmembers performing their drills again and again in preparation for the real event.
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