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Tiger Meet at Kleine-Brogel

The annual NATO TigerMeet of 2009 (number 45) took place at the Belgium airbase ĎKleine-Brogelí (ICAO code EBBL) between September 14th and 24th, 2009. Kleine-Brogel is located on the north-eastern part of Belgium, it is the homebase of the 31st Tiger Squadron flying the LockheedMartin (General Dynamics) F-16. Each year the European squadrons of the NATO (containing a Tiger or a cat in their crest/emblem) will have a special meeting, the TigerMeet. The TigerMeet has large social content, but it is also a genuine exercise with smaller missions in the morning and a large, multi-aircraft (~40-50) mission in the afternoon.

The NATO Tiger Association is the sponsor of the annual TigerMeet, which dates back to the 1960ís. In these early days the TigerMeet was a 1 or 2 day meeting of just a few NATO Tiger squadrons, all with a Tiger as emblem/crest. Over the years, the number of participants grew and the TigerMeet duration grew to 1 or 2 weeks.

In 2009, a varity of normal-painted and special-painted Tiger aircraft and helicopters visited Kleine-Brogel. The hosting 31st Tiger squadron had a toned-down Tiger F-16, which could be used operational in Afghanistan, if the need would arise. The French Air Force had special Tiger Dassault Rafale and Dassault Mirage 2000, the German Air Force flew a special decorated Panavia Tornado, while the Swiss Air Force reused an existing Tiger Boeing (McDonnel Douglas) F-18. The Hungarian Air Force was present for the first time with their new SAAB Gripen, while the Czech Gripen appeard for the first time at last years TigerMeet at Landivisiau (France). Other regular TigerMeet participants were Norwegian F-16s, Spanish Mirage F1 and F-18 and Dutch F-16s. Besides jetís, there were also helicopters participating, as the Czech MiL Hinds and the Italian AgustaBell AB-212.

The overall Tiger competition of 2009 was won by the French Mirage 2000 squadron of Cambrai (Escadron 1/12 "Cambresis") The next (46th) TigerMeet will take place in 2010 at Volkel airbase in the Netherlands.

Thanks to the Belgium COMOPSAIR IPR group and the NATO Tiger association for their support during the 2009 TigerMeet.
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G.J.A. van Boven
H.P.A.M van Eupen
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