Tag Archives: Leeuwarden Air Base

More than 60 combat aircraft from eight NATO nations take part in Exercise Frisian Flag in the Netherlands

Frisian Flag 2017 was a large scale exercise organised by the Royal Netherlands Air Force.

From Mar. 27 to Apr. 7, Leeuwarden Air Base in the Netherlands hosted the tactical aircraft taking part in Ex. Frisian Flag 2017.

The purpose of the drills was preparing the participating units for a modern conflict or crisis support operation by strengthening cooperation between air arms of multiple NATO countries called to undertake joint training missions twice a day.

Whilst Leeuwarden in the north of the Netherlands, hosted the “tacair”, the supporting tankers (French Air Force C-135FR, Italian Air Force KC-767A, German Air Force A-310MRTT and RNlAF KDC-10) were based at Eindhoven airport in the south, with a NATO E-3 AWACS flying from Geilenkirchen, Germany, and a French AF E-3D from Avord, France.

Special Viper BAF

Portuguese F-16 about to land

The two-week long drills saw the assets split into two teams: the “Red Force”, that included the RAF Tornado GR4s and the French Mirage 2000s, and the “Blue Force” made of the Florida ANG F-15s, the Eurofighter Typhoons, as well as F-16s from Portugal, Belgium and the Netherlands.

RNlAF F-16 on final

A 31 Sqn Tornado GR4

FAF Mirage 2000

According to the RAF 31 Sqn that posted a short debrief after returning from the drills, missions flown during Frisian Flag included air defense, protection of other aircraft and attacking of ground targets on land and sea in a high threat environment, which included opposing fighter aircraft and ground based Patriot and SA-6 missile batteries.

Four ship about to break for the downwind leg

GAF Typhoon special tail

Photographers at work at Leeuwarden

All the images in this post were taken at Leeuwarden airbase by photographer Estelle Calleja.

A Dutch Viper in final

RNlAF F-16 during the base turn

Image credit: Estelle Calleja

Polish Air Force F-16s join one of the most important NATO exercises in central Europe

Polish Air Force F-16s take part in Frisian Flag 2015 exercise

According to a report published by the Polska-Zbrojna media outlet, six Polish F-16 Block 52+ fighters from Łask airbase are currently involved in “Frisian Flag 2015” exercise, taking place at Leeuwarden AB, in the Netherlands.

The Dutch-based exercise is considered one of the most important NATO training events this year. It will involve U.S. Florida Air National Guard F-15 Eagles (currently deployed in Leeuwarden), Dutch F-16 Fighting Falcons, Finnish F/A-18 Hornets, German and Italian Eurofighters, along with NATO E-3A AWACS component and flying tankers from France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands.

When it comes to the Polish involvement, the PolAF has sent six F-16 jets to the exercise: five single-seater jets and one F-16D  two-seater aircraft.

Not only is the Frisian Flag exercise aimed at conducting training combat sorties, but it also aims to train COMAO (composite air operations), whose purpose is to practice sorties in large formations and to bolster the interoperability of the NATO air forces.

Notably, the exercise will also contribute to enhance skills in aerial refueling operations and in cooperation with JTACs (Joint Terminal Attack Controllers) in air-to-surface missions; all missions will be conducted in a dense EW (Electronic Warfare) environment.

After attending Frisian Flag 2015, the Polish F-16 fighters are also going to attend the NATO “Air Meet” and the NATO Tiger Meet in Turkey, the annual meeting of the NATO Squadrons that have Tiger  emblems.

Image credit: Tim Felce/Wiki