Report by: Thierry LETELLIER
NATO Tiger Meet for 2010 (NTM 2010) was held in Netherlands .Host unit was the KLu’s 313 sq at Volkel AFB. Despite having been a member for over 20 years; Squadron 313 had never organised the Meet before. Between 5 and 14 October 2010, various mission profiles were executed.
These included: Quick Reaction Force and Reconnaisance and attack on High Value Targets, Interdiction assisted by Special Forces on the ground, (CSAR ) Combat Search and Rescue) and CASEVAC (casualty evacuation). The morning missions provided the pilots to get familiar with the training area, and get some smaller scale training. While in the afternoon the missions were focused on large COMAO exercises. These missions are carefully planned, briefed, executed and debriefed. This schedule is followed for most of the flying days.Due to the growing helicopter forces within the Tiger association they are integrated within the mission as Forward Air Controllers or in a CSAR role. Besides their work within the COMAO’s the helicopter forces often practices with local army (special) forces.
During the eight flying days a total of 644 sorties were flown of the actually planned 715 sorties. Over 50 aircraft operated out of Volkel AB, and a KC-135 from US AIRFORCE flew aerial refueling missions from Eindhoven AB. While in the early days the Tiger Meet was mainly a social get together from Tiger squadrons things changed rapidly and tactical flying exercises were soon implemented into the Tiger Meet program to become a major exercise in the NATO structures.
By the end of the operational week it was time for some social activities between all participating units. It is during these days that the well known Tiger Games are executed. Tiger Games are mainly a mix of fun and sports. The Tiger Meet is always closed by lowering the flags. After the official ceremony the traditional farewell party is started and various awards are handed out to the different winners. The most important is always the Silver Tiger Trophy!
Next year ; in 2011, NTM will return to the base of one of the meet’s founding members, Cambrai in France. Sadly, this base and its Tiger unit EC 1/12 will close soon after the event.