During the First two weeks of April, the exercise ‘Frisian Flag 2008’ was held at Leeuwarden AB, in the northern part of The Netherlands. This year’s exercise was downgraded by the fact the Americans (F-15, HH-60G from 48 FW), Spanish (EF-18’s) and Finnish Air Force (F-18’s) did not participate. In the last couple of years the Finnish and Americans (USAFE) did participate.
You can’t compare Frisian Flag with Red or Green Flag exercises, held in the USA or Maple Flag in Canada but the intentions are the same. Train with allies and try new tactics, the reason Frisian Flag exercises are organised by 323 TACTES Squadron, stationed at Leeuwarden Air Base. This units works out new tactics. After a mission all the data will be exanimate and all weak and strong point will be evaluated. Participants for Frisian Flag do not have to pay a entrée fee and they can say what they want to try during this exercise so it’s more a win-win situation.
Link 16 is and will be very important during the near future. Because the use of link 16 all kind of tactical information can be send to and from the participants. During this exercise all kind of treats were simulated by the link 16 ‘pictures’. Link 16 is THE network for data exchange between commando centre’s, radar aircraft like the E-3A, E-8 J-Stars and tactical flying units. The strength of Link 16 is that all participants have the same information at the same time. The result is less radio traffic and a better view to make decisions.
The Finish Air Force recently bought Link-16 for their F-18C/D’s. So that was the reason for some visits of Finish AF Lj35A’s during the exercise.
This year's participating units
|Belgium Air Component||2 Wing||Florennes AB||F-16AM|
|France Air Force||EC.01-007||St. Dizier AB||Rafale B/C|
|German Air Force||JG-71||Wittmund AB||F-4F|
|Royal Norwegian Air Force||717 Skv||Rygge||Falcon 20ECM|
|Royal Netherlands Air Force||717 Skv||Leeuwarden AB||F-16AM/BM|
|336 Sqn||Eindhoven AB||C-130H-30|
* operated from home base as Red Forces
The first exercise in the Netherlands with France (Air Force) Rafale’s, the German F-4F still going strong (and a lot of smoke!) and of course our Belgian neighbours from Florennes with their Vipers. Most of their F-16AM’s were with the ‘FS’tailcode and they send FA-121 with special markings (25 years F-16 Belgian service and the other side 1 Sm fintip).
Public Affairs from Leeuwarden AB arranged some press visits during the exercise and also for spotters were possibilities to shoot some pictures. During the second week of April the weather was very good. We like to thank the PAO at Leeuwarden for the efforts they made and of course the base commander who allowed also base personnel to take pictures at the end/begin of runway 06 or 24. Thanks!
The aircraft involved
|2 Wing F-16AM||FA-71/FS, FA-84, FA-89/FS, FA-109, FA-121 (25 years fintip), FA-126/FS, FA-130/FS|
|EC 01-007 Rafale C||106/7-HG, 107-HJ (arr 7-4) 108/7-HS |
|Rafale B||321/7-HQ, 327/7-HZ|
|JG-71 F-4F||37+03, 37+65, 37+85, 38+46 (arr 4-4),38+54, 38+60 (arr 7-4), 38+63, 38+74 (dep 4-4)|
|312 Sqn F-16BM||J-064 (312 badge; operated from Leeuwarden; with 323 Sqn ?)|
|322 Sqn F-16AM||J-201, J-876, J-877, J-879|
|323 Sqn F-16AM||J-144, J-198, J-202, J-203, J-362, J-513, J-872, J-875, J-881|
|323 Sqn F-16BM||J-210|
|F-16AM||J-207, J-616, J-627, J-644 (all no badges)|
|336 Sqn C-130H||G-275 |
|717 Skv Falcon 20ECM||041 (arr 4 April)|
|EC.01-007||E32/7-FI Alpha Jet E (2-4), E92/7-FL Alpha Jet E (9-4)|
|ET.01-062||071/62-IE (31-3), 111/62-II (11-4) CN-235-200M (support)|
|Finish AF||LJ-1 (9-4 and 11-4), LJ-2 (7 -4l)|
|2 Wing||FA-92/FS (7-4) FB-02/FS (9-4)|
|2 Wing||Matrix, Sting|
|JG-71||Rhino and Ivan (4-4)|
|RNethAF||Mig, Ivan, Viper Green, Viper Black, Viper Blue|