NATO Tiger Meet 2009
Text and pictures Serge Van Heertum & Eddy Devroey - S.B.A.P. ©
International NATO exercise...
The 45th edition of the well known Tiger Meet was held in Belgium at Kleine Brogel Airbase between 14 and 25 of september 2009. More than a simple meeting bringing the NATO tiger squadrons together, it became over the years a major exercice in central Europe. Every day the participants flew simple missions or COMAO massive exercises. Actually each Tiger Meet session brings together 250 crew members and around 400 ground crew personel needed to operate the average 300 missions. 15 squadrons were operating together during those 2 weeks and each COMAO mission was performed by approximately 50 aircraft. The geopolitical changes during the recent years brought many modifications in the NATO Tiger Association (NTA) like the integration of old Warsaw Pact air forces. The 221 helicopter squadron from the Czech Air Force was the first to integrate the tiger community in 2001, the second Czech squadron was the 211 who was admitted in the community in 2008. For the firt time in 2009 the Hungarian Air Force was also present as an observer but will become a member in the coming years.
Since the beginning the NATO Tiger Association organises this annual event with
the main goal of promoting co-operation between the air forces, create a better
understanding of NATO military objectives, and to develop unit interoperability.
This guideline is also valid for the support and ground crew team. These
guidelines are the way for succesfull deployement and multinational peacekeeping
missions like the one in Kosovo or actually in Afghanistan.
At the end of the exercise, the best team of the session is awarded with the Silver Tiger Trophy, the winner is determined by a vote of the detachement commanders.
Last news on 26/09/2009 :
The winner of the silver tiger trophy of NATO Tiger Meet 2009 is the Escadron 1/12 "Cambresis" from the French Air Force. Congratulations!
|Formation Take off||A Belgian Air Component C-130H as transport in the mission scenario|
|Mirage 2000B from Orange Air Base||Every days missions are planned, sometimes in bad weather conditions|
|Take off for the next exercice for this F-16AM||Swiss Air Force is one of the full member of the NATO Tiger Associaation|
|Netherland F-16AM from 311 squadron||Mil-Mi 24V from the Czech Air Force as ground support|
|Spanish Mirage F-1M back from mission||Hungarian Gripen in a shelter after the missions of the day|
|First participation of the Hungarian Air Force at NATO Tiger Meet||Norvegian Air Force F-16's on taxi|
|Female tiger !||Back from mission, the technicians will prepare the next flight|
|Spanish Air Force EF-18A normaly based at Zaragoza||French Air Force Mirage 2000C from Cambrai Air Base|
Cambrai based aircrafts (base 103) but still wearing
the individual code from previous squadron (KC : Ile de France, Orange Air Base)
|Back from a sunny conditions mission|
|Mirage F-1M||Norvegian F-16AM from 338 Skv based at Ørland Air Base|
|Dassault Rafale B from CEAM Mont-de-Marsan||F-16BM from 312 squadron KLU|
|Mirage F-1M on taxi back to the parking||Belgian Air Component F-16AM|
|Tornado ECM from Lechfeld wearing the "40 years Panavia" logo||Tiger look helmets|
|Italian AMI SAR 21° gruppo AB-212 from Grazzanise||Tactical break|
|Impressive combat helicopter originated from the old east block|
|Belgian 31 Squadron pilot||Tornado IDS from AG51 (scheswig) departing for the next mission|
|The spectacular green HUD from the Gripen||Spanish tiger on taxi|
|Wings folded, refueling probe and airbarake extented for this F/A-18C||Cessna C560 Excel, support aircraft for the Swiss team|
|Mirage 2000C on taxi after the mission||Portuguese Air Force F-16BM (301 sqn) arriving from Monte eal Air Base|
|French technician||FA87bis, the second tiger "plane" of the 31||German crew in tiger flying suit|
Pictures Serge Van Heertum & Eddy Devroey - S.B.A.P. ©
All began with a request of French Minister Pierre Messmer who planned a
reinforcement of the military cooperation between the French and American
Rapidly the cooperation was extended with a squadron of the Royal Air Force. The
3 involved nations discovered that all 3 squadron had a Tiger as emblem, so the
name ‘Tiger Meet’ was born.
The first Tiger Meet took place in 1961 at Bentwaters-Woodbridge in the UK with only 3 squadrons : EC1/12 French Air Force, 74(F) squadron from the Royal Air Force and 79TFS from the U.S.A.F.
The second Tiger Meet in 1962, included no less than eight Tiger Squadrons representing six NATO nations...
In 1963, the Tiger Meet moved to continental Europe, taking place at Kleine Brogel, in Belgium for the first time.
The Tiger Meets held in Belgium : 1963, 1970, 1978, 1985, 1993, 2001 and 2009
In 1964 the Tiger Meet was held for the first time in France, during the previous sessions, the importance of the ground crew in the operations became obvious and implementation of ground competitions were added in the Tiger Meet exercise program.
During the 1980’s the NATO Tiger Meet once again grew in importance only to be threatened by the monumental changes that began to alter the political and military map of Europe in 1990,
following the collapse of communism. Almost simultaneously, the Tiger community was hit by the disbandment or relocation of a number of its established members including the 439 Sqn CAF, 431 Squadron Luftwaffe and one of its original founders, the 79th TFS USAFE.
Since the sixties the tiger spirit was shown by special decorations held by the tiger squadrons planes, it became a tradition and this year 11 aircrafts were decorated with a special paint scheme...Here are the tigers 2009.
|The "Tiger tails" parade held on September 18th in Kleine Brogel sky|
|Dassault Mirage F-1M Ala Casa 14 Spanish Air Force||Lockheed-Martin F-16AM 338 Skv Norvegian Air Force|
|Mc Donell F/A-18C Hornet 11 Staffel Swiss Air Force||
Dassault Rafale B from CEAM (Centre d'Experience Aérienne Mlitaire)
based at Mont-de-Marsan Airbase
|Lockheed-Martin F-16BM 338 Skv Norvegian Air Force||EF-18A Ala Casa 15 Spanish Air Force|
|Dassault Mirage 2000C EC01.012 Cambresis French Air Force||The most "modern" paint of the 2009 Tiger Meet edition|
|Tornado IDS AG51 Luftwaffe||Saab JAS39C Gripen 211 Tl Czech Air Force|
|Belgian Air Component 31 squadron Kleine Brogel|
Early Belgian 31 squadron Tigers...
Pictures : Serge Van Heertum - S.B.A.P. ©
13 aircrafts of the 31 squadron of the Belgian Air Force (Belgian Air Component) were painted, we propose an overview to remember all those magnificent tigers.
|1978 FX52||1985 FA62|
|1991 FA94||1993 FA80|
|1994 FA82||1998 FA71|
|2001 FA116||2002 FA122|
|2003 FA93||2004 FA87|
|2005 FA94||2006 FA87|
Next planned Tiger Meet : 2010 Volkel Air Base (Netherland) and 2011 Cambrai Air Base (France)
autors would like to thanks the COMOPSAIR IPR team for their kindness,
obligingness and facilities during the Tiger Meet photoreports
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