Aim of this exercise was training and executing complex missions by multi national forces. The exercise was based on previous experiences with operations over the former Yugoslavia as well as those over Afghanistan. In scope, Frisian Flag is comparable to Red Flag at Nellis AFB, Nevada, USA and Maple Flag at CFB Goose Bay, Alberta, Canada. Apart from F16’s from all the Royal Netherlands Air Force squadrons, five different country’s send five different aircraft types. Previous years saw French Mirage’s, American Eagles or Swedish Viggens.
This year exercise brought four F4F Phantom from the German Luftwaffe, 6 Jaguars GR.3A’s from the Royal Air Force, 6 F-18C Hornets from the Finnish Air Force and 6 SAAB JAS39 Gripens from the Swedish Air Force to Leeuwarden. For the Swedish Gripen this was their debut in Frisian Flag. The aircraft came from the F17 Wing based at Ronneby. In total 38 aircraft participated, supplemented by AWACS (flying from Geilenkirchen in Germany), KDC10 Tanker support form Eindhoven AB and a C160 Transall, acting as slow mover. Unfortunately the Spanish EF-18 Hornets, French Mirages and Belgian F16’s all cancelled for various reasons.
Exercises like Frisian Flag provide valuable training for multi national operations for air forces like those from Finland and Sweden. These services had been secluded from the outside world during the Cold War, but the disappearance of the East-West polarization makes their countries' neutrality meaningless. In the future therefore, those Scandinavian countries not belonging to NATO might be expected to make an appearance during such operations as those over the former Yugoslavia.
On September 28th the press was able to visit the Frisian Flag exercise. After a briefing by Capt. Ward “Croky” van Lingen from 323 TACTES Squadron we were escorted to the flightline for a photoshoot of the Finnish delegation. After that take-off could be witnessed. As always very impressive to see this kind of massive waves take off. After the Dutch F-16’s the German Phantoms and British Jaguars made their roll. As could be expected these old aircraft had to use almost the whole length of the runway to get airborne. The Hornets and Gripens were up, even before the F16’s. For reasons of noise reduction all the aircraft made a hard righthand banking just after lift off which gave great photo opportunities. After the mission we could visit the flighline again to see the Gripens and Jaguars serviced by their groundcrew.
Sentry Aviation News would like to thank the PRO of Leeuwarden AB to make this day a success.
Back to top of page
Sentry home page.