Belgian Air Force Demo Team 2012
   Text: Serge Van Heertum - Pictures: Serge Van Heertum & David Niemegeerts © sbap 2013

It is 7:00am at Leeuwarden air base located in the Friesland province (North of the Netherlands). All is calm ... but calm is a relative thing. Things are stirring over the North Sea, in the southern part of Denmark and part of Germany. Pilots are already at the briefing and technicians are preparing the aircraft that will be airborne in a few minutes. Activity intensifies, runway sweepers are working to clean and secure the runway, because shortly, some fifty aircraft will take to the air. The morning calm and the bird’s song are quickly blown away by the sound of whistling jet engines. At 9: 30, the first F-16 are taxiing and hold short of the runway. Soon, takeoff clearance is given and one after another, the fifty fighters take off for a large mission over the North Sea. After a mission of one and a half hour, the aircraft are coming back to their deployment base, mission accomplished. A second wave is launched in the afternoon ... it was easy to understand that the exercise “Frisian Flag 2013” is at its full pace!

North Sea area, East side.
Allowed altitude between sea level to 6600 feet
North Sea area, West side.
Allowed altitude between 550 feet to 6600 feet
TMA (Texel-Vlieland Range) area
Allowed altitude between 1200 feet to 6600 feet
(CAS) Control Air Support area
Allowed altitude between ground level to 1950 feet

During two weeks, from April 15th to 26th, at Leeuwarden air base, the sound of fighter jet engines of the six participating nations fill the air. Besides the Dutch F-16, Belgian F-16, Luftwaffe EF2000 “Typhoon”, Polish F-16, Sweden with their national product, the Saab “Gripen”, the comeback of the French Air Force in a NATO exercise is emphasized by the presence of the Mirage 2000 RDI and the Mirage F-1CR, who soon will be retired..
The organization of this annual exercise is done by the 323rd TACTES (Tactical Training Evaluation and Standardization) squadron, primarily active in the standardization of F-16’s operations in both national and international squadrons. To ensure realistic scenarios, other participants are planned in the missions, namely a KC-10 of the KLU or a NATO E-3A “AWACS”, participating in the missions from their home bases.
Leeuwarden air base is the ideal place to organize such an exercise, because it is close to the North Sea and the reserved air space areas for this kind of exercise, as well as avoiding long flight times before reaching the exercise area.

The implemented scenarios included both offensive and defensive missions, all with the goal to come as close to the reality of a war environment of a modern conflict as possible, while involving the FAC (Forward Air Controller), and the Dutch Navy ships located in the North Sea. To approach the real situation, the Dutch air defense units equipped with PATRIOT air defense system were also involved.
The skills learned during this kind of exercise ensure an adequate preparation allowing the units to participate in real operational missions, while maintaining a high level of security as was needed and done during missions over Libya, and currently in the Afghanistan conflict.
This kind of exercise also ensures optimum preparation of the FAC and the air controllers to handle the entire operation. New this year in the exercise was a moving control center (CRC), which was under the command of the German army, responsible for the mission coordination.

Along the week, the scenario becomes a more complex combination of all possible scenarios. Offensive operations prevented by interceptors, ground support of the troops led by the FAC ... All possible combinations are included in the missions. Although a mission time of one hour and thirty minutes on average, the work of the pilots and ground personnel did not stop there, because each mission is dissected, analyzed to extract the needed lessons that will be applied in the next missions.
Frisian Flag 2012 was undoubtedly the largest exercise ever held in Leeuwarden, given the sheer number of participating aircraft. However, the 2013 edition also brought sixty machines together, still making it one of the major NATO exercises in Western Europe.

Participant


Koninklijke Luchtmacht

Different units
J001 - J002 - J006 - J008 - J016
J-061 - J062 - J144 - J515 - J512
J624 - J642 - J-879

312 Sqn (Serge Van Heertum)
323 Sqn (David Niemegeerts) 322 Sqn (Serge Van Heertum) 322 Sqn
313 Sqn (Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
322 Sqn (David Niemegeerts) 313 Sqn (Serge Van Heertum)
(David Niemegeerts) 323 Sqn (David Niemegeerts)
311 Sqn (David Niemegeerts) 323 Sqn (Serge Van Heertum)
312 Sqn (Serge Van Heertum) 322 Sqn (Serge Van Heertum)

Force Aérienne Belge - Belgishe Luchtmacht

10th Wing Kleine Brogel
FA77 - FA86 - FA102 - FA110 - FA118
FA123 - FB17

(Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (David Niemegeerts)

Armée de l'Air

2/33 "Savoie" Mont de Marsan
118-CU / 118-NR / 118-FA / 118-CY

2/5 "Ile de France" Orange
115-KV / 115-YB / 115-YF / 115-YO / 115-KJ

 

(Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
(David Niemegeerts) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)

Luftwaffe

JBG31 "Boelke" Nörvenich
30+58 - 30+78 - 30+79 - 30+91 - 30+92 - 30+93 - 30+94

(Serge Van Heertum)
(David Niemegeerts) (Serge Van Heertum)
(David Niemegeerts) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)

Siły Powietrzne Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej

31.BLT Poznan
4040 - 4041 - 4058 - 4062 - 4082

 

(Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
(David Niemegeerts) (Serge Van Heertum)

 

Flygvapnet

 

F21 Flygflottilj Luleå
223 - 229 - 246 - 257 - 258 - 263 - 271 - 279 - 834

(Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (David Niemegeerts)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)

Skyline Aviation N116MA
Skyline Aviation is a Netherlands based civilian company specializing in electronic operations for military purposes. During the Frisian Flag 2013, the company was involved with a Gates Learjet 36A. The plane is a Multi-purpose platform, powered by two turbofan engines. It is designed for long-range mission capability. The Learjet has two hardpoints under its wing which can carry target tow, electronic warfare systems and other special mission equipment. The roles that can be fulfilled by the Learjet are target towing, electronic warfare, communications failure, radar calibration, flying test platform or training entity.

(Serge Van Heertum)
SAR AB412 at take off to ensure th safety at north sea area (Serge Van Heertum) Belgian F-16BM at take off (Serge Van Heertum)
EF2000 line up (Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
In the heat of the exhaust (Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
(David Niemegeerts) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (David Niemegeerts)
(David Niemegeerts) (David Niemegeerts)
(Serge Van Heertum) (David Niemegeerts)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
(David Niemegeerts) (David Niemegeerts)
(David Niemegeerts) (David Niemegeerts)
(Serge Van Heertum) (David Niemegeerts)
(Serge Van Heertum) (David Niemegeerts)
Pilots
Koninklijke Luchtmacht (Serge Van Heertum) Koninklijke Luchtmacht (tiger tiger tiger...) (Serge Van Heertum)
Belgian Air Force (Serge Van Heertum) French Air Force (Serge Van Heertum)
French Air Force (Serge Van Heertum) French Air Force (Serge Van Heertum)
Luftwaffe (Serge Van Heertum) Polish Air Force (Serge Van Heertum)
Swedish Air Force (Serge Van Heertum) Skyline Aviation (Serge Van Heertum)
Special markings
Pin Up nose art (Serge Van Heertum) Another Pin Up little bit less colored (Serge Van Heertum)
The special Belgian Air Force 349 Sqn tail (Serge Van Heertum) On the center tank of the Polish Air Force F-16D (Serge Van Heertum)
Little Road Runner on the right tank Mirage 2000 RDI 115-KJ (Serge Van Heertum)

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