International live-fly exercises in Netherlands drawing to a close
Impressive Partner and NATO mix - Swiss Air Force F-18, French Air Force Mirage-2000D and Royal Netherlands Air Force F-16 fighter aircraft parked at Leeuwarden Air Base during exercise Frisian Flag 2019. Photo by Cynthia Vernat
Apr 12, 2019
RAMSTEIN, Germany – This Friday, exercises Frisian Flag and European Air Refueling Training are concluding in the Netherlands after two weeks during which NATO and Partner fighter and refueling aircraft conducted interoperability training.
The Royal Netherlands Air Force hosted exercise Frisian Flag 2019 at Leeuwarden Air Base and participating pilots and aircrews from Allies Germany, France, the Netherlands, Poland, the United Kingdom and the United States as well as Partner Switzerland flew their fighters into training areas in the skies over the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark. Up to 50 aircraft were launched from the Frisian air base for major composite air operation sorties to execute challenging missions implementing NATO tactics, techniques and procedures and standards.
Missions flown during Frisian Flag included defensive and offensive air missions, protection of friendly aircraft and simulated strikes on static and moving targets on land or at sea. The fighter formations operated independently or in coordination with Forward Air Controller units on the ground or at sea. Several ground-based Air Defence Systems enabled realistic scenarios within exercise missions. As in previous years, Frisian Flag demonstrates the benefit and necessity of a major international live-fly exercise allowing participants not only to conduct sorties, but also to comprehensive prepare and analyse their mission in a joint endeavour.
"It was a great exercise and our crews really improved during the last two weeks," said Frisian Flag Exercise Director, Colonel Arnoud "Ditch” Stallmann. "Nowadays, it’s increasingly important to operate as a coalition and Frisian Flag creates a perfect opportunity to train in that manner; it makes our cooperation much smoother and takes our combined skills to a higher level.”
Integrated into Frisian Flag, the European Air Refueling Training, in short EART, 2019 took place organised by the European Air Transport Command or EATC. Five tanker aircraft from the Netherlands, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States conducted air-to-air refueling within the exercise scenario showcasing their enabling role extending the flying time and range of the fighters.
"EART is a unique opportunity for the Air-to-Air Refueling community in Europe,” says Brigadier General Agresti, EATC Deputy Commander of the at Eindhoven. "In the light of the complexity of air-to-air refueling operations there is nothing better than a fully comprehensive approach and extensive cooperation among nations - and this is exactly what EATC and EART are doing,” he added.