report by: Thierry Letellier
From the 16th to the 27th of June 2014, the 53th Tiger Meet was held in Schleswig Jagel Air Base in the north of Germany towards the Danish border. The exercise involved 11 countries to participate with 70 aircraft.The importance of the annual Tiger Meet is that it gives the participants the opportunity to fly mixed missions.
Due to the different type of aircraft; it is very interesting for Nato authorities to establish this kind of exercice with the goal to make them to collaborate in the better conditions in case of real conflict. The very long traditions story also greatly help to strengthen the famous “Tiger spirit” cohesion. During the two weeks, two sorties a day were flown. With around 50 aircraft in a sortie a total of over 600 flights was flown. As training area a large part of airspace over the north sea was used. Stretching from Holland to Denmark Measuring 300 by 360 kilometer. During these two weeks only two missions had to be scrapped because of bad weather. Schleswig Jagel is home to one of the full tiger members: Taktisches Luftwaffengeschwader 51 flying the Tornado in the reconnaissance role.This year’s tiger meet saw a lot of tiger units gathering. All in all an impressive amount of 17 units participated for flying and socializing.
There is the participant list for NTM 2014:
From Polands Poznan-Krzesiny airbase 6ELT flying the F16 block 52+.
From Kleine Brogel airbase Belgium 31 Smaldeel flying the F16A/B.
313 Squadron normally flying the F16 from Volkel airbase in the Netherlands.
11F from Landivisiau naval airbase in Brittany, west of France with the Rafale M, the naval version of the Rafale.
Also from France EC5/330 with a mixed bag of the older Mirage2000C and its replacement the Rafale.
The Swiss send 11Staffel from Meiringen flying their F18 Hornet.
Austria brought their venerable Saab105. After 44 years still going strong.
192 Filo flying the F16C/D from warm Balikesir airbase in Turkey.
Also participating was the other German Tiger unit: TLG74 molders. Coming up from Neuburg in Bavaria southern Germany.
The Czech Tiger unit 211LT with their Grippen
Neighboring country Slovakia’s 59/1 squadron from Kecskemet also flying the Grippen.
Also participating was the Tiger unit with the biggest aircraft: 1 squadron flying the Awacs. Not from their home base Geilenkirchen but forward deployed to Ørland Norway.
Additionally performing the CSAR role were:
KHR36 with the Tiger attack helicopter.
814 Naval Air Squadron (tiger) with their Merlin HM2.
221 Lvbr with the always impressive Mi24 Hind attack helicopter.
Some jets are able to use air to air refueling, while helicopters could easily refuel in the field if required. But these are challenges NATO forces would face if deployed on real operations, so training to overcome them is of vital importance.Happily, Tiger Meets still feature aircraft painted in special Tiger markings and competitions between the participating national teams, to build teamwork and camaraderie. Flight safety too was a priority in the earliest Tiger Meets and remains so today.
During our stay in northern germany we luckily met a relatively decent weather. It permited to us to come back from this trip with very good souvenirs.