NATO Tiger Meet 2009


Text and pictures Serge Van Heertum & Eddy Devroey  - S.B.A.P. ©


International NATO exercise...


The 45th edition of the well known Tiger Meet was held in Belgium at Kleine Brogel Airbase between 14 and 25 of september 2009. More than a simple meeting bringing the NATO tiger squadrons together, it became over the years a major exercice in central Europe. Every day the participants flew simple missions or COMAO massive exercises.  Actually each Tiger Meet session brings together 250 crew members and around 400 ground crew personel needed to operate the average  300 missions. 15 squadrons were operating together during those 2 weeks and each COMAO mission was performed by approximately 50 aircraft. The geopolitical changes during the recent years  brought many modifications in the NATO Tiger Association (NTA) like the integration of old Warsaw Pact air forces. The 221 helicopter squadron from the Czech Air Force was the first to integrate the tiger community in 2001, the second Czech squadron was the 211 who was admitted in the community in 2008. For the firt time in 2009 the Hungarian Air Force was also present as an observer but will become a member in the coming years.

Since the beginning the NATO Tiger Association organises this annual event with the main goal of promoting co-operation between the air forces, create a better understanding of NATO military objectives, and to develop unit interoperability. This guideline is also valid for the support and ground crew team. These guidelines are the way for succesfull deployement and multinational peacekeeping missions like the one in Kosovo or actually in Afghanistan.
At the end of the exercise, the best team of the session is awarded with the Silver Tiger Trophy, the winner is determined by a vote of the detachement commanders.


Last news on 26/09/2009 :

The winner of the silver tiger trophy of NATO Tiger Meet 2009 is the Escadron 1/12 "Cambresis" from the French Air Force. Congratulations!


Formation Take off A Belgian Air Component C-130H as transport in the mission scenario
Mirage 2000B from Orange Air Base Every days missions are planned, sometimes in bad weather conditions
Take off for the next exercice for this F-16AM Swiss Air Force is one of the full member of the NATO Tiger Associaation
Netherland F-16AM from 311 squadron Mil-Mi 24V from the Czech Air Force as ground support
Spanish Mirage F-1M back from mission Hungarian Gripen in a shelter after the missions of the day
First participation of the Hungarian Air Force at NATO Tiger Meet Norvegian Air Force F-16's on taxi
Female tiger ! Back from mission, the technicians will prepare the next flight
Spanish Air Force EF-18A normaly based at Zaragoza French Air Force Mirage 2000C from Cambrai Air Base
Cambrai based aircrafts (base 103) but still wearing
the individual code from previous squadron (KC : Ile de France, Orange Air Base)
Back from a sunny conditions mission
Mirage F-1M Norvegian F-16AM from 338 Skv based at Ørland Air Base
Dassault Rafale B from CEAM Mont-de-Marsan F-16BM from 312 squadron KLU
Mirage F-1M on taxi back to the parking Belgian Air Component F-16AM
Tornado ECM from Lechfeld wearing the "40 years Panavia" logo Tiger look helmets
Italian AMI SAR 21° gruppo AB-212  from Grazzanise Tactical break
Impressive combat helicopter originated from the old east block
Belgian 31 Squadron pilot Tornado IDS from AG51 (scheswig) departing for the next mission
The spectacular green HUD from the Gripen Spanish tiger on taxi
Wings folded, refueling probe and airbarake extented for this F/A-18C Cessna C560 Excel, support aircraft for the Swiss team
Mirage 2000C on taxi after the mission Portuguese Air Force F-16BM (301 sqn) arriving from Monte eal Air Base
French technician FA87bis, the second tiger "plane" of the 31 German crew in tiger flying suit

Tiger Tails...

Pictures Serge Van Heertum & Eddy Devroey  - S.B.A.P. ©

All began with a request of French Minister Pierre Messmer who planned  a reinforcement of the military cooperation between the French and  American Rapidly the cooperation was extended with a squadron of the Royal Air Force. The 3 involved nations discovered that all 3 squadron had a Tiger as emblem, so the name  ‘Tiger Meet’ was born.
The first Tiger Meet took place in 1961 at Bentwaters-Woodbridge in the UK with only 3 squadrons : EC1/12 French Air Force,  74(F) squadron from the Royal Air Force and 79TFS from the U.S.A.F.
The second Tiger Meet in 1962, included no less than eight Tiger Squadrons representing six NATO nations...
In 1963, the Tiger Meet moved to continental
Europe, taking place at Kleine Brogel, in Belgium for the first time.
The Tiger Meets held in Belgium : 1963, 1970, 1978, 1985, 1993, 2001 and 2009
In 1964 the Tiger Meet was held for the first time in France, during the
previous sessions, the importance of the ground crew in the operations became obvious and implementation of ground competitions were added in the Tiger Meet exercise program.
During the 1980’s the NATO Tiger Meet once again grew in
importance only to be threatened by the monumental changes that began to alter the political and military map of Europe in 1990,
the collapse of communism. Almost simultaneously, the Tiger community was hit by the disbandment or relocation of a number of its established members including the 439 Sqn CAF, 431 Squadron Luftwaffe and one of its original founders, the 79th TFS USAFE.

Since the sixties the tiger spirit was shown by special decorations held by the tiger squadrons planes, it became a tradition and this year 11 aircrafts were decorated with a special paint scheme...Here are the tigers 2009.

The "Tiger tails" parade held on September 18th in Kleine Brogel sky
Dassault Mirage F-1M    Ala Casa 14    Spanish Air Force Lockheed-Martin F-16AM   338 Skv   Norvegian Air Force
Mc Donell F/A-18C Hornet    11 Staffel    Swiss Air Force Dassault Rafale B from CEAM (Centre d'Experience Aérienne Mlitaire)
based at Mont-de-Marsan Airbase
Lockheed-Martin F-16BM   338 Skv   Norvegian Air Force EF-18A   Ala Casa 15  Spanish Air Force
Dassault Mirage 2000C   EC01.012 Cambresis   French Air Force The most "modern" paint of the 2009 Tiger Meet edition
Tornado IDS   AG51   Luftwaffe Saab JAS39C Gripen    211 Tl    Czech Air Force
Belgian Air Component 31 squadron Kleine Brogel
Tiger spirit...roarrrr!


Early Belgian 31 squadron Tigers...

Pictures : Serge Van Heertum - S.B.A.P. ©

13 aircrafts of the 31 squadron of the Belgian Air Force (Belgian Air Component) were painted, we propose an overview to remember all those magnificent tigers.

1978     FX52 1985     FA62
1991     FA94 1993     FA80
1994     FA82 1998     FA71
2001     FA116 2002     FA122
2003     FA93 2004     FA87
2005     FA94 2006     FA87
2009     FA87

Next planned Tiger Meet : 2010 Volkel Air Base (Netherland) and 2011 Cambrai Air Base (France)

Both autors would like to thanks the COMOPSAIR IPR team for their kindness,
obligingness and facilities during the Tiger Meet photoreports


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