This annual NATO extravaganza once again visited the scenic city of Leeuwarden. As usual the German air Force arrived in force with Typhoons from Neuberg and Norvenich combining well with the local F-16 Fighting Falcons.
In a similar style to last year, European military airmen gathered in northern Holland to train for realistic combat operations flying two sorties a day spread over two weeks. This year participants were slightly reduced with the United Kingdom and Finland deciding not to attend. However, Leeuwarden and hundreds of enthusiasts witnessed arrivals from Belgium, Poland and the Netherlands (F-16s), Germany (Typhoons), France (Mirage 2000 and F1CRs) and Sweden (Gripens). Other participants included a civilian agency Learjet 36A from Skyline Aviation and the Dutch Hercules providing a slow moving target for interceptions. Other command and control assets deploy from their home bases.
This was the first flying day of this exercise; the base itself is home to the Spanish Air Force, flying Mirage F1EE and Typhoon aircraft. Spain was not participating in this exercise and it was mid afternoon before briefings were complete and a one hour mission commenced.