2018: Frysian Flag Leeuwarden, Tiger Meet 2018

Ronald Stevelink

a heart for aviation

Frysian Flag 2018 Leeuwarden Airbase the Netherlands

 

From 27th of March till 7th of April the annual exercise Frisian Flag in Northern Holland was held again.

 

Organised by 322 Tactical Training Evaluation and Standardization (TACTES) Squadron of the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF), missions were flown from Leeuwarden on a daily basis between 09.30am and 16.00pm, with up to 50 aircraft participating in each wave of aircraft. Scenarios varied from air interdiction missions preventing hostile forces entering designated areas, to attacking specified ground targets in conjunction with forward air controllers (FAC's). During the two week exercise, both Dutch and German air combat controllers worked from the mobile control and reporting centre (DCRC) located at Leeuwarden Air Base. As with 2016, Frisian Flag saw participation from United States Air National Guard (ANG) units operating in Europe as part of the ongoing Theatre Security Package (TSP) deployments known as operation 'Atlantic Resolve', designed to demonstrate the United States' ongoing commitment to reassure NATO of its collective security and to ensure ongoing stability in the region. Participating ANG units in TSP 18-03 were two F-15 Eagle units from the Louisiana and the Massachusets Air National Guard

 

Other participating nations in Frisian Flag included the host nation, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Norway, Poland and the United Kingdom, with almost 70 aircraft in total. The twice-daily missions lasted approximately 1.5 hours on average, with some aircraft extending their loiter-time with the aid of air-to-air refuelling. Apart from the USAF the RAF brought their Tornado GR-4 and the French came with their Mirage "deux milles". The Portugese Air Force came with F-16's, the German Air Force brought their EF-2000 Typhoons to the exercise, the Polish, Belgiums and Royal Netherlands Air Force participated with F-16 Fighting Falcons. A nice variety of aircraft.

The purpose of Frisian Flag is preparing for any conflict, the main reason is cooperation between the multiple countries. Every other nation speaks another language and is it important that everyone will speak the same during conflict situations. There has been already some conflicts in the past, like in Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq and nowadays Syria. Thanks to exercises like Frisian Flag it is possible to actually train the cooperative actions.

Tiger Meet 2018

 

The 53rd edition of the renowned NATO Tiger Meet was held on the French naval base of Landivisiau in Bretagne between June 05 and 16. This well-known event gathering the squadrons wearing a tiger as an emblem, were guest for the second time in ten years, at the home base of the Flottille 11F of the Marine Nationale. Jointly with this big scale exercise, the base of Landivisiau also celebrated its half-century of existence.Besides the 'Tiger' folklore, the purpose of this generally highly coloured gathering, is training pilots of various nationalities during complex exercises, much needed to establish cooperation and interoperability between the nations.During those two weeks, more than 800 exercises and 1.200 hours were flown and to achieve these results some 800 pilots and technicians were needed to accomplish the very complex tactical missions.

History of the Tigermeet

 

Following the wishes of M.Pierre Messner, the then French defense minister, the USAFE (United States Air Force Europe) 79th TFS (Tactical Fighter Squadron) took the initiative and on 19 July 1961 they invited No.74 Squadron Royal Air Force and EC 1/12 Squadron of the French Armée de l`air to Woodbridge in England. And so the Association of Tiger Squadrons was established to improve relationships between individual squadrons within NATO. Each of these squadrons had a Tigers' head in their squadron crest. The tiger stands as a symbol of strength, speed and hunting prowess. Due to the success of the first 'meet' it was decided that future 'meets' would be held annually.... At the second Tigermeet at Woodbridge the following aims were formulated. These aims remain valid to this day: Improvement of solidarity between NATO members. The creation and maintenance of team-spirit and camaraderie between the participating members. The exchange of experiences and cooperation in line with the military goals of NATO. Since 1962 Tiger Meets evolved into a first class military exercise where the participants fly combined missions encompassing the entire spectrum of military operations. Alongside low flying emphasis is placed on air to air refueling, air combat, the use of weapon ranges, etc... The exchange of experiences between aircrews is not to be underestimated. For countries that can not afford to participate in large `flag exercises` in North America, 'Tiger Meet' is one of the few multinational exercises available. In view of the changing world security situation, participation is becoming ever more important.