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Frisian Flag 2008
Rafale B - 321/7-HQ - EC 01.007 - French Air Force   F-16 Fighting Falcon - J-207 (04-11-10 to Chile as 755) - Royal Netherlands Air Force   F-16AM Fighting Falcon - FA130/FS - 2 Wing - Belgian Defence - Air Component   F-4 Phantom II - 38+63 - Jagdgeschwader 71 - German Air Force
F-16AM Fighting Falcon - FA89/FS - 2 Wing - Belgian Defence - Air Component


Words Michael van der Mee, photographs by Nico van Remmerden.

From 31-3 until 11-4-2008 Leeuwarden Air Base hosted the first multi-national Frisian Flag exercise since 2005. Aim of this exercise is training and executing complex missions by multi-national forces. The exercise is based on previous experiences with operations over the former Republic of Yugoslavia as well as those over Afghanistan.

Exercises like Frisian Flag provide valuable training for multinational operations from all kinds of air forces, the following countries joined this episode of Frisian Flag; The Netherlands, Belgium, France, Norway and Germany. The Finnish air force also joined Frisian Flag, not with aircraft but only for the Link16 training in cooperation with the Dutch commandos and the Royal Netherlands Navy Frigate H.M.S. De Ruyter.

The German Luftwaffe participated with the venerable F-4 Phantom in de Air Defense Role. The French Armée de l'Air joined with four Dassault Rafales, just recently operational at Saint Dizier and "a first" for Leeuwarden. The Belgian Air Component joined with F-16`s from 2 Wing. For realistic electronic warfare training the Norwegian Air Force Falcon 20 was a valueable participant.

Frisian Flag is an exercise of pilots, for pilots, where taking tactical decisions stands by the pilots (operators) first. The hosting squadron, 323 TACTESS (TACtical Training, Evaluation and Standardisation Squadron), organises this exercise already many years. Due to continuous operational demands of the host, as well as the paritcipating Air Forces, the last edition was held in 2005.

During the exercise Link16 connections between planes mutually, HSM de Ruyter and between a ground station were used. Spider in the web was the NDMC (National Data link Management Cell) a mixed unit of Army, Navy and Air Force. All participants send radar images to NDMC, whereupon the NDMC makes an overview of the general situation in the air and on the ground which is send back to all participants in a near real life timeframe. This way all participants get information on large distance (far out of reach of their own radar system).

During the almost two weeks, all participants will qualify themselves in training defensive and offensive tasks in realistic scenario, where the emphasis will lay on taking tactical decisions on operator level and the integration of all available resources and systems.

F-4 Phantom II - 38+63 - Jagdgeschwader 71 - German Air Force
F-16AM Fighting Falcon - J-879 - 322 Squadron - Royal Netherlands Air Force   Rafale B - 327/7-HZ - EC 01.007 - French Air Force   Alpha Jet E - E32/7-FI - EE 02.002 - French Air Force   Rafale C - 108/7-HS - EC 01.007 - French Air Force
F-4F Phantom II - 38+63 - Jagdgeschwader 71 - German Air Force
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