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Frisian Flag  Leeuwarden AB,   4 April 2014

In the first two weeks of April the Frisian Flag exercise was held again at Leeuwarden Airbase. German and Spanish Typhoons, Finnish F-18's and F-16's from Belgium, Norway, Denmark, Portugal and the Netherlands flew two missions a day, mainly focused on international cooperation.


During the exercise pilots flew air defence missions and Close Air Support missions to support ground troops. The scenarios are focused on future Immediate Response Force (IRF). Missions over Afghanistan and Libya clearly show the importance of international cooperation. In recent years all foreign missions under NATO mandate were fulfilled together with armed forces from many different countries. The Dutch Air Task Force is still participating in the ISAF missions over Afghanistan.


On Friday April 4th I was able enter Leeuwarden AB in the afternoon together with 50 other aviation enthusiasts. When we arrived at Leeuwarden the first wave was already taxiing out. The weather was terrible so I didn't take any pictures in the morning.

When all aircraft of the first wave were airborne we heard the weather in the exercise area was below limits so all missions were cancelled. At first when we entered the base we were told the second wave was cancelled as well, but we were lucky as the weather in the area cleared in the afternoon. We were positioned at the beginning of the runway where we were able to take some nice burner shots. During the landings I took some more risks by using low shutter speeds, which turned out very well. My highlights of this years Frisian Flag exercise were the Spanish Typhoons. Unfortunately we saw only five of six present at Leeuwarden.  (Click for a full log)


At the same time the Frisian Flag exercise was held at Leeuwarden AB, an European Air Refueling Training (EART) exercise was held at Eindhoven Airbase. A German A-310MRTT flew missions to refuel the German EF2000s operating from Leeuwarden. An Italian KC-767A joined the second week to refuel the Spanish EF2000s. The third aircraft participating in the EART exercise was the local KDC-10 which refueled the F-16s participating in Frisian Flag. During the second week of the exercise I was able to join the RNLAF KDC-10 on an air-to-air refueling mission in the Carol-track. When we entered the area I heard we were expecting twelve receivers, from various countries. Unfortunately I had some very bad luck as the refueling boom went unserviceable, so the mission was cancelled. Luckily some F-16s joined up with the tanker for a brief moment before we went back to Eindhoven Airbase.





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