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Frisian Flag  Leeuwarden AB,  9 April 2008

In 1999 I visited the Frisian Flag exercise at Leeuwarden for the first time. This is still one of the best exercises ever, with the participation of six US Navy Hornets, two Prowlers and two Tomcats. The last exercise I visited in Leeuwarden was the Frisian Flag in 2005. Unfortunately I had some bad luck as the morning mission was cancelled due to the bad weather.


This year the Frisian Flag exercise was held again. Unfortunately some airforces cancelled their participation a few weeks prior the exercise. The Lakenheath Eagles were to busy in Romania due to a NATO Meeting. Also the participation of the Finnish and Spanish Hornets was cancelled. This all resulted in a very  small number of aircraft taking part in the exercise.


Despite the small number of aircraft it was still well worth a visit as the German Phantoms are almost extinct. Also the participation of five French Air Force Rafales is one of the highlights. Next to the French and German jets the Belgian Air Force send no less then eight F-16's to Leeuwarden.


In the early morning of April 9th Maurice and I drove towards Leeuwarden were we arrived nice on time. First we met some friends who told us about the photo conditions on base and only half an hour later the first aircraft were starting up. During the day we were able to take shots of taxiing and departing traffic from various positions. The weather was very good all day long which resulted in some very good photo opportunities.


One of the main goals of the exercise was the training in how to use Link 16. The simulation of Link 16 was provided by the Finnish Air Force using the Battlefield Operations Support System and was operated by Finnish F-18 pilots. They provided BOSS instruction to Dutch data link operators which allowed for expanded link training opportunities. The Finnish Air Force used one of their Learjets as air taxi between Finland and Leeuwarden to perform debriefings. Leaves me just one thing. Thanks Mo, for again a very nice day in the field.   (Click here for a full log of this day)





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