Presented by Jacques Vincent & Régis Rocca - Text: Serge Van Heertum (History) & Régis Rocca (Thundertiger) © sbap 2014



No more need to present or explain what the tiger meet is or means. This exercise is held every year at another place and for the 2014 exercise it was Schleswig in Northern Germany. This exercise created in 1961, remains the most mediatic military event due to his famous Tiger spirit and the colorful aircraft present during the Tiger Meet sessions. For this year you will have an overview of the participants and a second page to look behind the scene and see the work done to give a Rafale a unique Thundertiger spirit. But first a little bit history of the base and the unit hosting the 2014 edition.


Schleswig Airbase

The airfield of Schleswig/Jagel was founded in 1916 and has been in military use since. During the Second World War night fighters were based here, including the Messerschmitt Me 262.
After the end of World War II British Air Force of Occupation took control of the field on  May 06, 1945 and was called Airfield B.164. In the summer of 1945 Hawker Typhoon IBs of RAF No. 121 Wing were based there. In February 1948 RAF Schleswigland became active again as a training field for transport- and glider-aircraft from other stations. RAF Schleswigland was chosen as an operating base for the Berlin Airlift (RAF Codename Operation Plainfare) in the fall of 1948. On November 01, 1948 the first transport aircraft a Handley Page Hastings C.Mk 1s of RAF No. 47 Squadron arrived and started flights to Berlin on November 11. No.53 Sqn and No.297 Sqn followed on later. Civilian companies started using RAF Schleswigland to airlift fuel to Berlin, since Schleswigland was well equipped with underground fuel lines dating from German use during the war. The Lancashire Aircraft Corp. started flying on November 24, 1948 with specially converted Handley Page Halifax. British American Air Services flying Handley Page Halton starting 25 January 1949, Westminster Airways with Handley Page Halton started on January 29, 1949 and Scottish Airlines on February 19, 1949 with Consolidated Liberator. On October 06, 1949 the last airlift flight operated out of RAF Schleswigland marking the end of Operation Plainfare.
During the 1950's the 2 TTF was based at RAF Schleswigland with De Havilland Mosquito TT.35 used for target towing. In 1955 King Olav V of Norway visited RAF Schleswigland, as the Royal Norwegian Air Force was using the airfield for training from time to time since the end of the Second World War. The Royal Air Force closed RAF Schleswigland in April 1958 and turned the southern part of the field over to German control. In June 1958 the newly formed German Navy based the Marinefliegergerschwader 1, established on March 12, 1957 as the Marinefliegergruppe 1 in Kiel, now known as Schleswig-Jagel. In October 1959, Royal Air Force handed over the northern part of the airfield to the German Navy, but it wasn't until November 1961 when the British left the last building at Schleswigland.
Schleswig Air Base is an airbase of the German Air Force, home to the Aufklärungsgeschwader 51.

AKG 51
"Immelmann" (AKG 51) flying reconnaissance variants of the Panavia Tornado.
Taktisches Luftwaffengeschwader 51 "Immelmann" (Tactical Air Force Wing 51 "Immelmann"), formerly known as Aufklärungsgeschwader 51 (Reconnaissance Wing), is a tactical reconnaissance wing of the German Air Force. The Wing is named after World War I German flying ace Max Immelmann. The wing operates 25 Panavia Tornado aircraft in the tactical reconnaissance role and has two reconnaissance ground stations that can be deployed on overseas operations. The Tornado aircraft are equipped with reconnaissance sensors which are carried in a pod mounted under the fuselage. Depending on the variant used, the reconnaissance pod with optical and infrared sensors can spot targets both day and night.
In 2007, to support NATO coalition operations across Afghanistan, Aufklärungsgeschwader 51 "Immelmann" deployed Tornados to Mazar-i-Sharif, Northern Afghanistan.
On October 01, 2013, the unit was renamed in the course of adaptations to the new structure of the German Air Force.
Originally a pure reconnaissance wing, AG 51 took over the role of naval aerial warfare in 2005 when Germany's Naval Air Wing 2 was disbanded. The role of Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses was inherited in April 2013 from Jagdbombergeschwader 32 when the latter unit was disbanded.
By Jacques Vincent (Click on picture) By Régis Rocca (Click on picture)

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