Text and photos : Serge Van Heertum - S.B.A.P.

From July 11 till 15, 2005 Florennes airbase was home of a NATO exercise named TDPU (Tactical Discussion and Procedures Update). This gathering allows the pilots of various nationalities to share their experiences in a specific domain.


It was the 350 squadron that initiated this exercise. Indeed, since a little while the squadron received their F-16 MLU equipped with the LINK 16 system. Although the F16 MLU is a multirole aircraft, the 350 squadron is in fact a fighter squadron and so the TDPU could be used to adjoin a "Fighter Meet".


LINK 16 : what is this ?


Link 16 is an on-board communication network allowing a great number of informations to be exchanged in real time between various actors (fighters, bombers, AWACS, ground troops,...) This encrypted system resists present counter measure threats and also permits a better operational theatre management thanks to the rendering in real time of the information by graphical, textual or vocal means. As such this system allows swift tactical decision management as well as offering a better situational awareness for all actors.


Following the events in London and the reactivation of the "Plan Vigie Pirates" in France, some  participants were not deployed to Florennes, but did take part in the exercise from their homebases like the Mirage 2000 from Cambrai.


The fighter meet gathered F16 from various countries. Some were F16 MLU version M3 or M4 in their integration phase. In this manner we could see a Norvegian F16 MLU equipped with the new Air/Air missile Saab Iris-T or a Dutch F16 BM with JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munition) GBU-31 INS/GPS.


The spotters day on July 14 was a real success and I would like to thank the "350" for their care and obligingness through :  
















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