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Exercise Garuda  BA115 Orange-Caritat,  14 June 2010

Today was the first day of Exercise Garuda. As the weather forecast for both Orange and Istres-Le Tubé wasn't really good, we didn't know which base to visit today. So early in the morning we first went to Marseille-Marignane to see what was going on at the Eurocopter Factory. Here we decided that BA115 Orange-Caritat was the place to be this afternoon. A total of six F-16Ds of the Republic of Singapore Air Force arrived here last week to participate in Exercise Garuda.


Around eleven o'clock in the morning Maurice, Fred and I arrived along the fence at BA115 Orange-Caritat. Here we met a lot of other Dutch spotters wearing orange colored t-shirts waiting for the Dutch soccer match against Denmark. The first movement of the day, was the RSingAF C-130 that departed back to Singapore again. In the morning the participants of Exercise Garuda had a briefing, so the first missions of the exercise were planned for this afternoon. Early in the afternoon the first local Mirage 2000s took off for the first mission of the day. The sun wasn't in the best position so we decided to find ourselves a spot in the final area.


Finally around two o'clock in the afternoon the first Singaporese F-16Ds taxied to the runway for their familiarization flight together with some Mirage 2000s from BA102 Dijon-Longvic. The Indian AF Su-30MKIs which were present at BA125 Istres-Le Tubé for the exercise did the same and no less then five Flankers made low passes over Orange to become familiar with their alternate airfield. This resulted in some nice photo opportunities.


From the spot we found in the final area we were able to take some nice shots of the landing aircraft, with some mountains in the background. Unfortunately we had some bad luck with the weather. It was partly sunny during the afternoon, but every time an aircraft came in for landing a big cloud was in front of the sun.


A total of four different RSingAF F-16Ds and eight local Mirage 2000s flew during the afternoon. Around six o'clock the last of the Singaporese Vipers landed and we decided to leave Orange. As I'm also interested in preserved aircraft, I wanted to visit the Musée de Amis de la 5eme Escadre de Chasse which is located near the airbase of Orange. As I walked through the museum we suddenly heard some aircraft taking off from BA115 Orange-Caritat, including some F-16D's.


As the weather cleared we decided to go back to the airbase to take some sunny shots of the F-16Ds. The area looked wonderful but again we had some really bad luck. Only a few minutes prior landing the weather deteriorated again, which resulted in some very dark shots. This made us decide to  leave Orange again, so we drove back to Camping Le Mas in Martigues.


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