Tag Archives: Cambrai

Photo report: French Mirage 2000s and Italian Typhoons at Grosseto airbase

Taken at Grosseto airbase by Alessandro Fucito, the following pictures show the two French Air Force Mirage 2000s that paid a visit to the local-based 4° Stormo’s Eurofighter Typhoons on Apr. 12.

Noteworthy, the two French Mirages still wore the markings of the EC. 01/012, a unit previously based at BA103 Cambrai and disbanded on Mar. 30, 2012 (the SPA 162 “Tiger” banner and traditions was attached to the EC.01/007 “Provence” flying the Rafale at Saint-Dizier).

Image credit: Alessandro Fucito

NATO Tiger Meet 2011: a real exercise with some interesting "hardware" rather than a gathering of friends

Taking place between May 9 and 20 at Cambrai airbase, in northern France, NATO Tiger Meet (NTM11) has been attended by about 60 planes and helicopters belonging to the Austrian, Czech Republic, German, Hellenic, French, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Turkish, Swiss and Slovak air forces.

From a simple meeting of flying units sharing a Tiger (or feline) emblem, the NTM has become a multi-national mid-size exercise offering a two-week program that includes all types of air-to-air and air-to-ground and a wide variety of support missions, comprising CSAR and large COMAOs. The 2011 edition was to be the biggest ever organised; unfortunately, many units cancelled their participation because of their commitment in “Unified Protector” the NATO led air campaign in Libya.

Nevertheless the NTM lived up expectations with some interesting participants: the F-16 Block 52 of the Polish Air Force’s 6 Sqn from Poznan, equipped with AIM-120, AIM-9X, JHMCS (Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System) and Sniper pod, at their first appearance at the Tiger Meet; the Spanish Air Force EF-18s carrying the IRIS-T air-to-air missile at wingtips; the Swiss Hornets with AIM-9X coupled to JHMCS.

The ItAF took part to the NTM11 with the 21° Gruppo of the 9° Stormo based at Grazzanise, a Sqn with many Tour of Duty in Afghanistan, whose AB.212ICOs performed CSAR and Combat Recovery missions as well as Special Forces support and Non-Combatant Evacuation operations. As usual, there was also a certain number of eye-catching Special Colours or Tiger markings:  an operational nonsense, since they only increase visibility of the aircraft whose deleterious effects are however mitigated by the fact that future air-to-air scenarios are BVR (Beyond Visual Range) rather than WVR (Within Visual Range), meaning that the enemy will hardly get so close to see the special colour scheme….