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TLP 2009-1

Polish Air Force F-16s
During TLP 2009-1 the Polish Air Force (Sily Powietrzne Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej, Sily Powietrzne RP - Air Forces of the Polish Republic) participated with 3 F-16 “Jastrzab” to the Florennes airbase. This was the first time that the Polish F-16’s participated in an international exercise. In 2008, their very first squadron rotation took place at Skrydstrup in Denmark. But the TLP 2009-1 was the first exercise with large numbers of aircraft involved.

LtCol Wisniewski Cezary (callsign ‘Ceasar’), pilot of a Polish F-16 at Florennes explained about this TLP 2009-1 exercise.

The Polish F-16 arrived with 3 aircraft, 2 F-16C and 1 F-16 D from the 31st Tactical Air Base of Poznan-Krzesiny (in Polish: 31 Baza Lotnictwa Taktycznego - 31.BLoT). As it was their first time at the TLP, they were flying the ‘Red Air’ missions. ‘Red Air’ aircraft will try to attack the incoming ‘Blue Air’ TLP mission. 3 F-16s were flown into Florennes, but only 2 F-16s were used per mission. During TLP 2009-1 and TLP 2009-3 the Polish F-16’s will be present again at Florennes, but then they will be part of the ‘Blue Air’ TLP missions. The goal for the Polish pilots was to learn to cooperate with NATO aircraft, to learn the NATO procedures and tactics. Besides that the interoperability would be trained. At the start of TLP 2009-1 it was difficult, because the airspaces, the local procedures, and the air-traffic regulations were far more complex than they are in Poland. But during the 2 weeks of their presence they learned to adapt fast. After their return to Poland, the pilots will transfer their newly obtained knowledge to their fellow F-16 pilots at Poznan and Lask airbases.

Plans for 2009
During the year 2009, more exercises are planned for the Polish F-16s. Besides the mentioned participation to TLP 2009-2 and TLP 2009-3, 4 F-16s will participate in the Dutch exercise Frisian Flag at Leeuwarden AFB. (Nearly) every year the Frisian Flag exercise takes place at Leeuwarden AFB, it is a smaller (and cheaper) version of the USAF Red Flag and Canadian Maple Flag exercises. Also exercises in Denmark (Bold Avenger), Greece, Spain and Sweden (Loyal Arrow) are planned for 2009.

Regarding the weapons and equipment, there are other targets for the year 2009
By the end of the year, the night vision goggles (NVG) should receive their operational status. The SNIPER targeting pod and the MAVERICK missile will be tested in 2009

Thanks to Adj-Chief DeWael and Adj Tamigniaux of the Media Component of the Belgium Air Component and LtCol Wisniewski of the Polish Air Force. Background info from TLP website

All photo's:
G.J.A. van Boven
H.P.A.M van Eupen
© Sentry Aviation News

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