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2014 Leeuwarden exercise Frisian Flag

Frisian Flag finds its roots in the annually held 1994 DIATIT exercise of Leeuwarden air base – DIA refers to the hosting unit KLu F16 322 squadron ‘Diana’ and TIT to Tactical Integrated Training. This name was changed by 1999 into Frisian Flag, referring to the well-known Red Flag and Maple Flag exercises which have the same set up: large numbers of fighters and bombers battling each other over a large area; supported by AWACS, air-to-air refueling tankers, ECM support/ threats (airborne/ ground based) and SAM installations. The full package.

Although this exercises existed since 1992 in the year 2014 I visited Frisian Flag for the first time. During the 90’s Leeuwarden was out of reach for me and during the 00’s my focus was more outside of the Netherlands. Frisian Flag 2014 was supported by tankers which operated out of Eindhoven and were part of the EART2014 exercise (European Air Refuelling Training0 and consisted of an Italian KC767 and a German A310. Both tankers regularly passed my house in Grave when departing or vectored towards Eindhoven air base.

Frisian Flag 2014 itself had as highlight a detachment of Finish FA18 Hornets – as part of the Partnership for Peace program. Spanish Hornets and German Eurofighters were the other non-F16 participating aircraft. This year a large number of NATO F16’s were present: Danish, Norwegian, Portuguese, Belgian and Dutch squadrons. Among the Norwegian F16’s were two NATO Tigermeet adorned tails.

EART2014 participants Cobo 32 (Luftwaffe A310) and Gulf 33 (AMI KC767) passing my house in Grave returning to Eindoven airbase from a Frisian Flag air-to-air refuelling sortie.  Cobo 32 flies with its two wing hose-refueling pods hoses extended.