Text: Serge Van Heertum - Pictures: Jacques Vincent & Philippe Decock - Translation: Marc Arys   © sbap 2017
 
 

The 53rd edition of the renowned NATO Tiger Meet was held on the French naval base of Landivisiau in Bretagne between June 05 and 16. This well-known event gathering the squadrons wearing a tiger as an emblem, were guest for the second time in ten years, at the home base of the Flottille 11F of the Marine Nationale. Jointly with this big scale exercise, the base of Landivisiau also celebrated its half-century of existence.
Besides the 'Tiger' folklore, the purpose of this generally highly coloured gathering, is training pilots of various nationalities during complex exercises, much needed to establish cooperation and interoperability between the nations.
During those two weeks, more than 800 exercises and 1.200 hours were flown and to achieve these results some 800 pilots and technicians were needed to accomplish the very complex tactical missions.

Participants
French Navy  Flotille 11F  BAN Landivisiau  Rafale M 
Swiss Air Force   Staffel 11 Meiringen AB  F/A-18C/D Hornet
Austrian Air Force   1 JTS   Vogler AB  Saab 105Öe
Italian Air Force  XII Gruppo    Gioia del Colle  EF2000 Typhoon
Italian Air Force  21° Gruppo     Grazzanise    AB-212ICO
French Air Force  ECE 01/30 (FAF)   BA118 Mont-de-Marsan  Rafale C/B
French Air Force  EC 3/30 (FAF)       BA118 Mont-de-Marsan  Rafale C/B
Belgian Air Force  31 Squadron  Kleine Brogel AB  F-16AM/BM 
Czech Air Force  211 TL Cáslav AB 	JAS-39C/D Gripen
Dutch Air Force   313 Squadron   Volkel AB  F-16AM/BM 
Royal Air Force  230 Squadron   RAF Benson Puma HC Mk2
Royal Navy  814 Squadron  NAS Culdrose  Merlin HM. MK2
French Army  EHRA 3   BA d'Étain-Rouvres  SA 342 M Gazelle
NATO  1st Squadron   Geilenkirchen AB   E-3A Sentry (1x)  (Flying from MOB)
External Participants
French Navy   Flottille 4F  BAN Lann-Bihoué  E-2CHawkeye 
French Army   5 RHC   BA Pau  EC665 Tigre HAP
Royal Navy    849 Squadron   NAS Culdrose  Sea King ASaC Mk7 
Observers 
Polish Air Force  6 ELT   Poznan-Krzesiny AB  (No plane)
Greece Air Force  335 Mira    Araxos AB  (No plane) 

Visitors
Royal Norwegian Air Force   338 Skv    MAS Ørland  F-16AM/BM 
German Air Force  TaktLwG 51  Schleswig-Jagel AB Tornado ECR & IDS
German Air Force  TaktLwG 74   Neuburg AB  EF2000 Typhoon
Czech Air Force  221 LtBVr    Námest AB Mil Mi-24 Hind

 

History Flottille 11F:
The Flottille 11F is the oldest fighter training school of the Aéronautique Navale. Her past is more than prestigious, being the heiress of the AC1, the first fighter squadron of the Aviation d'Escadre, created on March, 1, 1919. In these days, the squadron was equipped with Hanriot HD.2.
On October 20, 1920, in Toulon roads, the first arrested landing was attempted in the Béarn region flown by Lieutenant de Vaisseau Teste with a Hanriot HD.2.
At the start of the Sceond World War in September 1939, the AC1, ancestor of the 11F, was equipped with obsolete Dewoitine 373/376. Conversion onto the Potez 631 is beginning and on this latter aircraft type, the AC1 took part in the Bataille de France receiving two awards. After the 1940's defeat, she was engaged against the Franco-English forces in Syria and Lebanon from 6 till 14 July 1942 followed by the Anglo-American landing in Morocco in November 1942.
From August 1951 till June 1952 she sees action in Indochina aboard the aircraft carrier Arromanches flying American F6F5 Hellcat.
The naming Flottille 11F was formalised on June 20, 1953 at the base of the Flottille 1F3, taking over the staff, equipment, missions and traditions and was immediately sent into the Indochina war, taking a.o. part in the defence of Diên Biên Phu.
In April 1955, the Flottile received its first jet aircraft SNCASE 'Aquilon' (derived from the De Havilland Sea Venom) and took part in the Algerian war in 1958 and 1959.
The Flottille was disbanded a first time on January 17, 1955 and reactivated on April 4, 1955. Disbanded again on April 18, 1962, she was restored to active service on Dassault Etendard IV.M on April 1, 1963.

 
 The Clémenceau in the 1960's
(Courtesy Marine Nationale ©)
Super Etendard of the 11F
(Courtesy Marine Nationale ©)
 

The first arrested landings on the deck of the aircraft carrier Clmenceau took place in September 1963. The 11F left BAN Hyères-Le Palyvestre in May 1967, to move onto its actual base at Landivisau.
Equipped with the Dassault Super Etendard from September 1978, the Flottille 11F was tasked with naval and land assault day and night missions. The aircraft were armed with anti-ship missiles AM-39 Exocet and fitted to carry the nuclear bomb AN-52.
The 11F took part in Operation Olifant in Lebanon in 1983 and in 1989 the AN-52 was replaced by the cruise missile ASMP.
Flottille 11F was deployed in the Adriatic Sea from January 1993 to February 1995 - 'Mission Balbuzard' and saw operations in Ex-Yugoslavia within the FORPRONU.
As from the end of 1995, the Flottille is equipped with modernized Super Etendard, capable of carrying and dropping laser guided bombs and in 1999, the 11F flew 400 sorties onto 85 targets during Operation Allied Force in Serbia and Kosovo.

Back in France the 11F contributed to the testing of the carrier Charles de Gaulle followed by its first cruises (2000-2001). The Super Etendards are once again modernised onto Standard 4 and then Standard 5. From Feburary till May 2007 the 11F is deployed to Afghanistan.
At the end of 2010 the Flottille starts her conversion onto the Dassault Rafale M and on September 19, 2011 she becomes the second Flottille operational on this aircraft, the SEM (Super Etendard Modernisé) being phased out gradually onto the Flottille 17F.
Since her conversion to the Rafale M, the Flottille took part in numerous operational missions, among othert hings in the Persian Gulf during the Syrian conflict or against the Islamic State. As the Flottille 11F is associated with the Clemenceau aircraft carrier, of which the official emblem is the Tiger, she was accepted within the 'Nato Tiger Squadrons', disregarding the hippocampus insignia, more likley a (sea) horse, than a tiger.
The first participation of the the Flottille 11F to a Nato Tiger Meet, was at Cambrai in 1986.

 
The Rafale "M" Flottille 11F
(Philippe Decock ©)
Falcon 10 MER from 57S
(Philippe Decock ©)
 

BAN Landivisiau
Located in the vicinity of the town of Landivisiau, some 30 kilometers from Brest, the naval airbase of Landivisiau ensures, since February 1, 1965, the support of the whole embarked fighter fleet of the Force Maritime de l'Aéronautique Navale. 1.600 personnal, of which 220 civilians, assorted to four service groups, ensure the operational, technical and logistical support of the three Flottilles : 11F, 12F and 17F but also of its squadron 57S.
The base was built on demand of the French president Charles de Gaulle, asking that the aircraft carriers Foch and Clemenceau, based at the Brest shipyard, could depart for their missions with their flottilles of fighters (Dassault Etendard IV and Vought F-8 Crusader) close to the training locations. So it was that the base came to life, allowing carrying out simulated arrested landings on the runway, next to their operational carriers.
The 57S Squadron is equipped with Falcon 10 Mer and was created in 1981, ensuring the training of the jet fighter pilots, the qualification of pilots on flights without visibility and liaison missions for the naval authorities.

  
 Aerial view of BAN Landivisiau (Google Earth)
 
Tiger Meet 2017: "Atlantic Tigers"
 
 Austrian Air Force   1 JTS   (Jacques Vincent ©)
 
 Belgian Air Force  31 Squadron   (Philippe Decock ©)
 
 Czech Air Force  211 TL   (Philippe Decock ©)
 
 Dutch Air Force  313 Squadron   (Jacques Vincent ©)
 
  French Air Force  EC 3/30    (Jacques Vincent ©)
 
 French Air Force  EC 1/30   (Jacques Vincent ©)
 
French Army  EHRA 3  (Philippe Decock ©)
 
 French Navy  Flottille 11F   (Philippe Decock ©)
 
 Italian Air Force  XII Gruppo    (Philippe Decock ©)
 
 Italian Air Force  21° Gruppo   (Philippe Decock ©)
 
 Royal Air Force  230 Squadron   (Jacques Vincent ©)
 
 Swiss Air Force   Staffel 11   (Jacques Vincent ©)
 
External Participants
 
 French Navy   Flottille 4F   (Philippe Decock ©)
 
 French Army   5 RHC   (Jacques Vincent ©)
 
 Royal Navy    849 Squadron   (Jacques Vincent ©)
 
Visitors
 
 Czech Air Force  221 LtBVr   (Jacques Vincent ©)
 
 German Air Force  TaktLwG 51   (Jacques Vincent ©)
 
 German Air Force  TaktLwG 74   (Jacques Vincent ©)
 
Tigers in action
 
 (Jacques Vincent ©)
 (Jacques Vincent ©) (Courtesy Armée de l'Air ©)
 (Philippe Decock ©) (Jacques Vincent ©)
 (Jacques Vincent ©) (Jacques Vincent ©)
 (Philippe Decock ©) (Philippe Decock ©)
 (Philippe Decock ©) Aermacchi MB-339CB Draken International's
(Philippe Decock ©)
 (Jacques Vincent ©) (Jacques Vincent ©)
 (Jacques Vincent ©) (Jacques Vincent ©)
 (Philippe Decock ©) (Philippe Decock ©)
 (Philippe Decock ©) (Philippe Decock ©)
 (Philippe Decock ©) (Philippe Decock ©)
 (Philippe Decock ©) (Philippe Decock ©)
 (Philippe Decock ©) (Philippe Decock ©)
 (Philippe Decock ©) Czech Government Canadair Challenger 601-3A
(Philippe Decock ©)
 (Jacques Vincent ©) (Philippe Decock ©)
 (Philippe Decock ©) (Philippe Decock ©)
 (Jacques Vincent ©) (Philippe Decock ©)
 (Philippe Decock ©)
 (Philippe Decock ©) Swiss Air Force Beechcraft 1900D
(Philippe Decock ©)
 (Jacques Vincent ©) (Jacques Vincent ©)
 (Jacques Vincent ©) (Philippe Decock ©)
 (Courtesy Marine Nationale ©)
 (Philippe Decock ©)

Tiger Trophy Winners

Silver Tiger Trophy 31 Squadron Belgian Air Force

Best Flying Unit 31 Squadron Belgian Air Force

Best Painted Tiger Aircraft Flottille 11F French Navy

Best Looking Uniform 31 Squadron Belgian Air Force

Tiger Games ECE 01/30 French Air Force

Best Skit 230 Squadron Royal Air Force

 (Courtesy Marine Nationale ©)
 (Jacques Vincent ©)

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