Two-week training for NATO Tiger Squadrons in France
German Eurofighter and Tornado fighter aircraft sitting on an apron at Mont-de-Marsan Air Base, France, as a Spanish F-18 is taking off for a mission during the NATO Tiger Meet 2019. Photo by Christian Timmig
May 21, 2019
- More than 1,500 military personnel, 60 fighter jets and 13 helicopters are practicing their flying skills from 13 to 24 May at the 2019 NATO Tiger Meet at the French Air Base at Mont-de-Marsan.
Around 900 sorties are being planned, prepared, conducted and debriefed at the 2019 NATO Tiger Meet. International military flying units with a tiger in their logo are getting together at the base south of Bordeaux to conduct tactical flying exercises. The participants from fighter and helicopter units from NATO Allies Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Spain, the United Kingdom, Partner Austria and a NATO AWACS plane are flying large mixed aircraft formations also known as composite air operations (COMAOs).
For ten days, two aircraft waves are flown. During the morning COMAO waves of some forty aircraft take off to simulate aerial manoeuvres against twenty others; this takes more than two hours and requires thorough preparation and debriefing sessions for the pilots and planners. In the afternoons the so-called shadow wave will provide training opportunities for junior pilots with limited scenarios and smaller training areas. All flights are conducted in separated airspace over the ocean, the Mont-de-Marsan area or the central parts of France.
The long-standing NATO Tiger Meet concept offers a rare occasion with daily interoperability training for all participants. The different Tiger squadrons coordinate and fly together so they will find it easier to cooperate in real-world scenarios whenever and wherever required. The NATO Tiger Meet provides a venue for international air and ground crew as well as controllers to further hone their skills and apply their tactics, techniques and procedures. It is a demonstration of capabilities and friendship among the Tiger squadrons.
The NATO Tiger Meet is a tactical-level live-fly event that has existed since 1961. The overarching framework is provided by the NATO Tiger Association and the individual meets are organised by the hosting squadron – this year the 3/30 French Air Force Fighter Squadron at Mont-de-Marsan flying the Rafale fighter aircraft. Whilst not related to any NATO headquarters, the NATO Tiger Meet provides unique squadron-level training and enhances professionalism and good airmanship across NATO’s air forces.
More pictures can be found here
Story based on information provided by the 3/30 Fighter Squadron and the NATO Tiger Association