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Frisian Flag Leeuwarden AB,  25 April 2012

Fighter pilots from different countries practiced from 16 to 27 April 2012 from Leeuwarden Air Base. During the massive exercise Frisian Flag 2012 they flew both Air Defense and Close Air Support missions to prepare themselves for complex missions at international level, such as those in Afghanistan and Libya.


The experiences over Libya, where the Royal Netherlands Air Force controlled Libyan airspace together with its coalition partners, and in Afghanistan, where Dutch fighters still regularly support ground troops, are incorporated into the training scenarios. Additionally the script anticipates to the next NATO Response Force. This group consists of NATO units that are on a half a year standby to be deployed anywhere in the world.

During the exercise the participating fighters give during Close Air Support to units of the Army and the Navy. Therefore the pilots are working closely with the Forward Air Controllers of the Army. These Forward Air Controllers give detailed information about the location of targets to fighters in the air.

The exercise saw a nice variety of participating aircraft flying from Leeuwarden Air Base, with: F-16’s from Belgium, Netherlands, Norway and Poland, EF2000 Typhoons from Great Britain and Germany, F-18 Hornets from Finland and Saab Gripens from Sweden. Also participating in the exercise, but flying from their home base were: a NATO E-3 AWACS, a USAF KC-135 tanker and a C-130, Fokker 50, KDC-10 tanker, Cougar transport helicopters and Apache attack helicopters from the Royal Netherlands Air Force.


I visited Leeuwarden Air Base during the second week of the exercise. Luckily the weather turned out pretty good this day as it had been raining a lot during the first week.   (Click here for a full log)





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