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2002 Florennes exercise TLP

The Tactical Leadership Programme (TLP) found its origins in 1978 and was first held at the Furstenfeldbruck airbase in Germany. This exercise is held to improve NATO allies in combined operations (COMAO) using contemporary tactics and to ensure all allies are able to lead their fellow members into combat. Scenarios adapted over the years the ever changing global situations. In 1979 the TLP moved to Jever airbase (Germany)  at which it stayed until 1989 when it moved to Florennes airbase (Belgium) - by then it had trained over 2.000 NATO pilots.

From 1989 to 2009 the exercise was held at Florennes until it moved to Albacete airbase (Spain) where it is still held (2022).

During the TLP period at Florennes I visited the airbase a couple of times. The TLP was held 6 times a year during which I visited TLP2002/3 on Monday 24-06-2002 and made this photo report.

Monday the 24th of June 2002 weas a very sunny and beautiful day. The aircraft were kickibng up quite some hay and the aperture adjustment of my camera mad some photographs almost feel 'unreal'.

The photograph to the left shows an A10A of Spangdahlem with a Marineflieger Tornado in the background taking of with full afterburners.

In 2002 the (then) regular NATO aircraft participated: USAFE A10A's, Spanish EF18A Hornets, Greek Mirage 2000's, French Mirage F1's and Mirage 2000N's, German Marineflieger Tornado's, Italian Tornado's and F16's of Florennes (Belgium), Karup (Denmark) and Aviano (USAFE - Italy).

In 2002 the 81FS/52FW of Spangdahlem airbase (Germany) were still equipped with the A10A Warthog. These were always a treat to every exercise. 81-0962/SP and 82-0655/SP were flying on this Monday. Very harsh on this specific day was the fact that 3 days later, on Thursday 27th of June 2002, the 82-0655/SP would have a fatal crash near the French Polygone Range, killing the pilot. Even during peace time exercises these tragedies take place.

Greece send two Mirage 2000CG's of 331 Mira: the 233 and 237. Other Mirages included the French Armee de l'Air with two Mirage F1CT (260/30-SO and 264/30-SW) of EC1/30 and two Mirage 2000N (345/4-BU and 353/4-BD) of EC2/4.

Very cool were also the Tornado deployments: the Italian AMI with the MM7022/6-02 in the cool old camo c/s together with his buddy MM7071/6-35 in dull grey c/s - both of 154Gruppo/6Stormo. The German Marineflieger send two nicely camouflaged grey/bluegrey c/s MFG2 aircraft: the 45+28 and 45+55.

The Spanish Ejercito del Air flew four EF18A's: C.15-68/12-26, C.15-70/12-28, C.15-83/46-11 and C.15-93/46-21. The first of Ala12 and the latter of Ala46. 

Always very cool, just like the A10A's, were the German Luftwaffe Hopsten airbase F4F Phantoms of JG72. 37+35, 38+05 and 38+20 were seen on this specific day.

F16 Falcons consisted of USAFE Aviano airbase (Italy), Danish and Belgian aircraft.