NTM09 Nato Tiger Meet 2009
After previous visits to Tigermeets in 1986 Cambrai, 1997 Fairford, 2004
Beja, 2006 Albacete and 2008 Landiviseau expectations were high for the
2009 edition at Kleine Brogel Air Base in Belgium. Previous visits to KB
for Comao (Composite Air Operations) exercises were always perfectly
Because of these successful and very much appreciated events the
organization had to cope with more than 6000 visitors this year. This
year it was possible to buy tickets in advance and access to the air
base was quick. We would like to compliment and thank the organization
for making this a day to remember.
Host for this event was the 31st Tiger Squadron of the Belgische
Luchtmacht, the Belgian Air Force. Being one of the oldest members and
having hosted this meet 6 times before they knew what they were up to.
Planning started already in 2008, even before that years NTM at
Landivisiau. Only this year, for the first time, the exercise lasted two
weeks in stead of one. If you read the comments on
they succeeded very well.
With 64 aircraft involved, more than 850 exercise participants from 11
nations, plus official observers from 5 additional forces, it was not
only the largest air exercise of the year within Europe, but also the
biggest NATO Tiger Meet in the almost fifty years of the NATO Tiger
Association (NTA). A total of 785 missions made for 1253 high value
flight hours. 15 Tiger squadrons, 6 other flying squadrons and one UAV-squadron
(Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) shared this multinational experience.
First time participant were the 59/1 “Puma” squadron of the Hungarian
Air Force bringing 3 of their Swedish built Saab Grippen. 59/1
understood the Tiger spirit and painted one of their aircraft
accordingly. The other first timer was the 241 LBAE, fighter bomber
squadron of the Serbian Air Force, flying the J22 Orao. This time they
only came as observers but who knows next time!
Unfortunately their was also a last
call. As painted on their Flag Ship the Tornado’s of AG 51 participated
for the last time as the unit will disband this year. AG51 has been a
well seen participant in exercises and air shows. It will be missed.
They left in good spirit though: they took with them the trophy for most
fancy paint scheme
The aim of the Tiger meets is to bring air force people of different
nations and backgrounds together. So the typical NTM will exist of some
big flying exercises combining al assets to successfully complete a
mission. Every unit tries to bring a two seater so back seat rides can
be traded to get a feel for the hardware the other units are flying. The
other part is to tighten social bonds. This is done with a lot of fun
during for instance the Tiger games were the units compete on a
In the morning missions were flown by individual aircraft or small
formations. This morning one of these formations was the traditional
Photo Flight in witch every participating unit was represented if
possible by their specially painted bird.
In the afternoon the big Comao was flown. This consisted of a mass take
off of all participants. All working together as one team to complete
one mission. This mission consisted of different assets for fighter
bombing, air defence, SEAD and pre and post strike recce.
This years winner of the Silver Tiger Trophy was EC.01.012 “Cambresis”.
This very much wished for trophy that goes to the squadron that has shown the
best operational and social performances.( picture by D. Goovaert / NTA)
After the successful NTM09 the challenge is high for 313 squadron of the
Koninklijke Luchtmacht who will host the NTM10 next year at Volkel Air
Base. We wish them good luck with the organization but we have no doubt
the will succeed. How could they not if the motto is: Nato Tigers….hard
to be humble.