Report by: T. LETELLIER
Leeuwarden air base organised the Frisian Flag 2014 exercise. Around fifty aircraft from ten countries took part in the exercise at Leeuwarden air base. The Netherlands with 12, Norway with 6, Belgium with 4, Portugal also with 4, and Denmark with 2 ; all deployed the Lockheed Martin F-16 AM/BM Fighting Falcons. The other types of fighter aircraft taking part in the exercise where eight German and four Spanish Eurofighter EF-2000 Typhoons and six Finnish F/A-18s Hornets. A single C-130H from KLU at Eindhoven AB took also part to the exercice.
These fighters where supported by tankers and transports from the Netherlands, Norway, United Kingdom, Germany, and Italy, and airborne early warning and control platforms of NATO. Most exercise missions was flown over the North Sea where training areas extend over Dutch, Danish, and German airspace.
The global objective of Frisian Flag 2014 is to practise large-force fighter operations in complex scenarios. All facets including planning, execution, and reporting are included in the exercise program. The missions that where flown during Frisian Flag 2014 include air defence missions, offensive missions, missions to protect other aircraft, and the elimination of dynamic or static targets on the ground or at sea. During F-FLAG 2014 Eindhoven Air Base hosted the first European Air-to-Air Refuelling training ever. The EART 2014 (European Air-to-Air Refuelling Training 2014) took place over Dutch and German dedicated airspaces . During this exercise a German and an Italian tanker joined the Dutch aircraft at Eindhoven for the first European Air-to-Air Refuelling training .
Apart from the air manoeuvres, this exercise shows the cooperation between the various tactical air commands and tactical air control agencies. Such exercises in an international spectrum is necessarily compatible with the sustainment of an effective execution of Dutch air defence tasks and missions. With a duration average of flight of 1.5 hours ; the working time of the crews can be increase fourfold , including the strong and sofisticated preparation . And after the flight comes the time of debriefing and functional analysis.During my stay in frise , the luck was with me only for the first morning ; the sky then turned to gray with few sunny spels .