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Frisian Flag 2005 Leeuwarden

Between September 26th and October 7th 2005 the multi-national exercise Frisian Flag was held after a two year’s absence. Location was again Leeuwarden AB, one of only two Main Operation Fighter Bases, in the northern part of The Netherlands (in the province Friesland) close to the North Sea. During Frisian Flag the ranges over the North Sea were heavily used to reduce aircraft noise over land. However, some flights, notably those involving Forward Air Control, had to be done over land. A.o. Vliehors air to ground firing range on the isle of Vlieland and the Marnewaard exercise area were used. For added realism, Smokey SAM´s were fired from the latter area during the second exercise week. The missions were flown from 09.00hr until 12.00hr and after a break again from 13.00hr until 15.30hr. Minimum flight level was about 150 meters (500 feet). No missions were flown during the weekends and nights.

All photo's:
H.P.A.M van Eupen/G.J.A. van Boven
© Sentry Aviation News

(c)Sentry Aviation News, 20050928_ehlw_3722_f4f_lw_hve_b.jpg(c)Sentry Aviation News, 20050928_ehlw_3875_f4f_lw_hve_a.jpg(c)Sentry Aviation News, 20050928_ehlw_39155_jas39_rsaf_hve_a.jpg(c)Sentry Aviation News, 20050928_ehlw_39158_jas39_rsaf_hve.jpg
(c)Sentry Aviation News, 20050928_ehlw_39190_jas39_rsaf_hve.jpg(c)Sentry Aviation News, 20050928_ehlw_finaf_fa18c_hn438_hve_a.jpg(c)Sentry Aviation News, 20050928_ehlw_finaf_fa18c_hn442_hve_b.jpg(c)Sentry Aviation News, 20050928_ehlw_j067_f16bm_klu_hve.jpg
(c)Sentry Aviation News, 20050928_ehlw_j207_f16am_klu_hve.jpg(c)Sentry Aviation News, 20050928_ehlw_j647_f16am_klu_hve_a.jpg(c)Sentry Aviation News, 20050928_ehlw_xz364_jaguar_raf_hve.jpg(c)Sentry Aviation News, 20050928_ehlw_xz391_jaguar_raf_hve.jpg

Aim of this exercise was training and executing complex missions by multi national forces. The exercise was based on previous experiences with operations over the former Yugoslavia as well as those over Afghanistan. In scope, Frisian Flag is comparable to Red Flag at Nellis AFB, Nevada, USA and Maple Flag at CFB Goose Bay, Alberta, Canada. Apart from F16’s from all the Royal Netherlands Air Force squadrons, five different country’s send five different aircraft types. Previous years saw French Mirage’s, American Eagles or Swedish Viggens. 

This year exercise brought four F4F Phantom from the German Luftwaffe, 6 Jaguars GR.3A’s from the Royal Air Force, 6 F-18C Hornets from the Finnish Air Force and 6 SAAB JAS39 Gripens from the Swedish Air Force to Leeuwarden. For the Swedish Gripen this was their debut in Frisian Flag. The aircraft came from the F17 Wing based at Ronneby. In total 38 aircraft participated, supplemented by AWACS (flying from Geilenkirchen in Germany), KDC10 Tanker support form Eindhoven AB and a C160 Transall, acting as slow mover. Unfortunately the Spanish EF-18 Hornets, French Mirages and Belgian F16’s all cancelled for various reasons.

Exercises like Frisian Flag provide valuable training for multi national operations for air forces like those from Finland and Sweden. These services had been secluded from the outside world during the Cold War, but the disappearance of the East-West polarization makes their countries' neutrality meaningless. In the future therefore, those Scandinavian countries not belonging to NATO might be expected to make an appearance during such operations as those over the former Yugoslavia.

On September 28th the press was able to visit the Frisian Flag exercise. After a briefing by Capt. Ward “Croky” van Lingen from 323 TACTES Squadron we were escorted to the flightline for a photoshoot of the Finnish delegation. After that take-off could be witnessed. As always very impressive to see this kind of massive waves take off. After the Dutch F-16’s the German Phantoms and British Jaguars made their roll. As could be expected these old aircraft had to use almost the whole length of the runway to get airborne. The Hornets and Gripens were up, even before the F16’s. For reasons of noise reduction all the aircraft made a hard righthand banking just after lift off which gave great photo opportunities. After the mission we could visit the flighline again to see the Gripens and Jaguars serviced by their groundcrew.

Sentry Aviation News would like to thank the PRO of Leeuwarden AB to make this day a success.
A publication of Frisian Flag 2005 is in AIREVIEW 2006-07


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