BDA : Winter Migration !
Text & Pictures : Serge Van Heertum © sbap 2012
     

History The Frisian Flag exercise started in 1992 and the format changed and increased every year. Since 1998 the massive involvement of foreign aircraft made it a “Flag” exercise. A small version of the well known Red Flag in the USA or Maple Flag in Canada exercises. Throughout the years the number of participants and their origins varied. Swedish Gripens and Finnish F/A-18s participated in earlier editions, which could lead up to 45 participating aircrafts. On the other side, 8 USAFE F-15s and a Norwegian ECM Falcon were the only foreign participants in the 2009 version of Frisian Flag. One of the highlights in the history of Frisian Flag is the 1999 edition, when the US Navy participated in force with F-14s, F-18s and EA-6Bs from the aircraft carrier USS Kennedy.

Objective The objective of Frisian Flag is an offensive and defensive training in a realistic scenario, with emphasis on tactical decisions and the effective integration of all available asset and systems. The Frisian Flag is an exercise “by pilots and for pilots”, all pilots bring in their wishes and demands for the scenarios. There is no high-level command center that defines the missions, all missions are created and implemented at Leeuwarden by the participating pilots. The demands for the missions are gathered by the Frisian Flag staff and the specified missions are assigned to the daily mission commanders whereby every pilot will have a role as mission commander once during the exercise. Two missions are flown every day, during daylight time only. As the mission preparations take a lot of time, there are double aircrews present at Leeuwarden; when the morning missions are flown, the afternoon missions are prepared and briefed. With a total of around 50 aircraft flying twice a day, 4/5 aircraft will fly in the “blue forces” during a mission, while 1/5 aircraft will fly in the opposing “red forces”. There are no predefined roles for the pilots, one day they fly defensive in the ‘blue forces’, the other day they can fly offensive missions in the ‘red forces’. After each mission a debriefing takes place, whereby the learned lessons will be incorporated into the future missions, There are no restrictions on the capacities and skills of the participating pilots, each country may decide on the skill level of the pilots and on their objectives for the exercise.

Area Due to the fact that the “Brilliant Ardent/Brilliant Mariner” exercise took place in the Germany/Denmark area in the same two weeks, only the Dutch airspace above the North Sea was used during the exercise. An area of 200km by 150km was reserved exclusively for the 2012 session. The exercise could be witnessed clearly by the contrails further north. The recurring items of this exercise consisted of an offensive attack on the northern part of the Netherlands, whereby the attacking aircraft came in from their staging areas in the most northern part of the Dutch airspace. The defending forces, like aircraft, vessels and missiles would try to defend the different targets on the Dutch islands and mainland.

323 squadron The Leeuwarden based 323 squadron TACTESS (Tactical Training, Evaluation and Standardization Squadron) is part of the NATO Response Force (NRF) and they have the task to define, standardize and evaluate the procedures and tactics for the Dutch F-16 squadrons. In 2007, the 323 squadron passed their exam for the NRF force during 3 evaluation cycles at Eindhoven airbase. Besides the Frisian Flag exercise, the 323 squadron organizes the FWIT (Fighter Weapons Instructor) course and the ATTIC course (Advanced Tactical and Technology Intelligence Course) at Leeuwarden AB.

   
Exercise area Groningen CAS (KLU) Official Frisian Flag 2012 patch
(April 16th until April 27th)
Air range area TMA Texel-Vlieland (KLU)
   
April 25th...Morning wave
   
Koninklijke Luchtmacht Lockheed Martin F-16AM (J-013) 323 Sqn Koninklijke Luchtmacht Lockheed Martin F-16AM (J-872) 323 Sqn
   
Koninklijke Luchtmacht Lockheed Martin F-16AM (J-515) 311 Sqn Koninklijke Luchtmacht Lockheed Martin F-16AM (J-879) 322 Sqn
   
Kongelige Norske Luftforsvaret Lockheed Martin F-16AM (291) 332 Skv Kongelige Norske Luftforsvaret Lockheed Martin F-16AM (670) 332 Skv
   
Belgian Air Force Lockheed Martin F-16AM (FA101) 1 Sqn / 2 WTac Belgian Air Force Lockheed Martin F-16AM (FA83) 1 Sqn / 2 WTac
   
Belgian Air Force Lockheed Martin F-16AM (FA133) 1 Sqn / 2 WTac Belgian Air Force Lockheed Martin F-16AM (FA126) 1 Sqn / 2 WTac
   
Svenska Flygvapnet  Saab JAS39C Grippen (225) Flygflottilj F7 Svenska Flygvapnet  Saab JAS39C Grippen (276) Flygflottilj F7
   
Svenska Flygvapnet  Saab JAS39C Grippen (248) Flygflottilj F21 Svenska Flygvapnet  Saab JAS39C Grippen (260) Flygflottilj F21
   
Koninklijke Luchtmacht Lockheed Martin F-16AM (J-017) 322 Sqn Koninklijke Luchtmacht Lockheed Martin F-16AM (J-516) 322 Sqn
   
Koninklijke Luchtmacht Lockheed Martin F-16AM (J-511) Koninklijke Luchtmacht Lockheed Martin F-16AM (J-858) 323 Sqn
   
Kongelige Norske Luftforsvaret Lockheed Martin F-16AM (663) 332 Skv Kongelige Norske Luftforsvaret Lockheed Martin F-16AM (295) 332 Skv
   
Kongelige Norske Luftforsvaret Lockheed Martin F-16AM (687) 332 Skv Kongelige Norske Luftforsvaret Lockheed Martin F-16AM (289) 332 Skv
   
Ilmavoimat Boeing F-18C-49-MC Hornet (HN-409) HävLLv 21 Ilmavoimat Boeing F-18C-50-MC Hornet (HN-417) HävLLv 21
   
Ilmavoimat Boeing F-18C-51-MC Hornet (HN-427) HävLLv 21 Ilmavoimat Boeing F-18C-51-MC Hornet (HN-432) HävLLv 21 
   
Siły Powietrzne Lockheed Martin F-16C-52CF (4069) 10.elt Siły Powietrzne Lockheed Martin F-16C-52CF (4066) 10.elt
   
Siły Powietrzne Lockheed Martin F-16C-52CF (4065) 10.elt Siły Powietrzne Lockheed Martin F-16C-52CF (4064) 10.elt
   
Kongelige Norske Luftforsvaret Lockheed Martin F-16AM (277) 332 Skv Kongelige Norske Luftforsvaret Lockheed Martin F-16AM (299) 332 Skv
   
Koninklijke Luchtmacht Lockheed Martin F-16AM (J-635) & (J-136) 312 Sqn
   
Luftwaffe Eurofighter EF2000 (30+78) JBG31 Luftwaffe Eurofighter EF2000 (30+85) JBG31
   
Luftwaffe Eurofighter EF2000 (30+83) JBG31 Luftwaffe Eurofighter EF2000 (30+76) JBG31
   
Royal Air Force Typhoon FGR4 (ZJ926/QO-Y) 3 Sqn Royal Air Force Typhoon T3 (ZJ815/BN) 29(R)Sqn
   
Royal Air Force Typhoon FGR4 (ZJ933/DF) XI(F)Sqn Note the recent war markings...
   
Koninklijke Luchtmacht Lockheed Martin F-16AM (J-202) 323 Sqn Koninklijke Luchtmacht Lockheed Martin F-16AM (J-014)
   
Koninklijke Luchtmacht Lockheed Martin F-16AM (J-196) 313 Sqn Koninklijke Luchtmacht Lockheed Martin F-16AM (J-009) 323 Sqn
   
Siły Powietrzne Antonov M-28TD (0220) 14.eltr SPA 103 visitor during noon...
   
April 25th...Afternoon wave
Some view of the afternoon wave departing in sunny conditions and back with heavy grey sky.
Note the right turn after take off to avoid noise and the overfly of the village located at the end of the runway.
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   

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