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TigerMeet Cambrai

Cambrai (LFQI)

On the French airbase of Cambrai (Base Aerienne 103, ICAO code: LFQI) in Northern France the annual NATO TigerMeet took place between May 09 and May 19 mei 2011.

Each year the European squadrons of the NATO (containing a Tiger or a cat in their crest/emblem) will have a special meeting, the TigerMeet. The TigerMeet has large social content, but it is also a genuine exercise with smaller missions in the morning and a large, multi-aircraft (~40-50) mission in the afternoon.

The NATO Tiger Association is the sponsor of the annual TigerMeet, which dates back to the 1960's. In these early days the TigerMeet was a 1 or 2 day meeting of just a few NATO Tiger squadrons, all with a Tiger as emblem/crest. Over the years, the number of participants grew and the TigerMeet duration grew to 1 or 2 weeks.

After recent Tigermeets at Landivisiau (2008,France), Kleine-Brogel (2009,Belgium) and Volkel (2010, Netherlands), was EC (Escadron de Chasse, squadron) 01/12 'Cambresis' the host of the TigerMeet 2011. Initially, the TigerMeet would be one of the largest TigerMeets ever, due to the 50 years anniversary. But due to the NATO Libya campaign, the Dutch, Belgium and Norwegian airforces withdrew. Only the special painted Belgian 31 squadron F-16 was present for a few days at Cambrai. But a newcomer at the TigerMeet was the Polish Air Force with their new F-16s.

The German Air Force had 3 special painted Tornados at Cambrai, 2 brand new 2011 Tiger paintings and 1 with the 'old' 2010 Tiger painting. The French Air Force sent 2 special painted Mirage 2000's and the Belgian Air Force sent the Kleine-Brogel F-16, with one 1 side 50 years TigerMeet and on the other side 60 years 31 squadron painted. The Turkish Air Force had the reused the 2010 paintings on their F-16s and the Czech Gripens made optimal use of the canard wings by painting these with Tiger eyes. The Polish and Portuguese F-16s were decorated with grey Tiger schemes. Spanish and Swiss F-18s reused their old Tiger paintings.

The Cambrai airbase will close down in 2012 but the Tiger squadron will keep on flying from another airbase in France, to keep up the Tiger traditions. In 2012 the TigerMeet will be held at Orland in Norway.

All photo's:
G.J.A. van Boven
© Sentry Aviation News

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Country / Force         Unit           Aircraft
Austria / AusAF         1JTS           Saab 105OE
Czech Republic / CzAF   211 Sqn        JAS-39C Gripen
Czech Republic / CzAF   221 Sqn        Mi-24
Germany / GAF           JaboG 321      Tornado ECR
Germany / GAF           AG 51          Tornado IDS
Greece / HAF            335 Sqn        F-16 Blk 52
France / FAF            EC 05/330      Mirage 2000RDY
France / FAF            EC 01/012      Mirage 2000B/C
Italy / ItAF            21° Gruppo     AB212
Poland / PoAF           6 ELT          F-16 Blk 52
Portugal / PAF          301 Sqn        F-16 MLU
Spain / SpAF            142 Escuadron  Mirage F-1 (1 week only)
Spain / SpAF            ALA 15         EF/A-18
Switzerland / SwAF      11 Sqn         F-18C/D
UK/Royal Navy           814 Sqn        Merlin HM. 1

Norway / NoAF           338 Sqn        F-16 MLU
United Kingdom / RAF    230 Sqn        Puma
Belgium / BAF           31 Smd         F-16 MLU (only 2 aircraft during the weekend)
Netherlands / RNLAF     313 Sqn        F-16 MLU
Hungary / HuAF          59/1 Puma Sqn  JAS-39C Gripen
France / FAF            EC 05/330      Rafale B/C
France / FN             11Flottile     SEM
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