On May 20, the NATO Tiger Meet 2022 (NTM22) was completed, which had started on May 9, at Araxos, Greece, home of the hosting 335 Squadron “Tiger” of the Hellenic Air Force. This was the first Tiger Meet on Hellenic soil, since 335 Sq was being accepted as a NATO Tiger Member in 1972. Around forty foreign aircrafts and helicopters together with Hellenic Air Force assets participated this year:
|COUNTRY||NUMBER & TYPE(S)||UNIT||REMARKS|
|Hellenic Air Force||All Types||All Units||Operating from Araxos AB and their respective air bases|
|Belgian Armed Forces Air Component||6x F-16AM||31 Sq|
|Czech Air Force||2x Mi-35||221.vrl|
|French Air Force||2x Rafale B
5x Rafale C
|French Navy||1x E-2C
5x Rafale M
|Italian Air Force||6x Eurofighter||XII Gruppo CI|
|Spanish Air Force||5x EF-18AM
|Swiss Air Force||5x F/A-18A||Fliegerstaffel 11||Only during first week|
|NATO||1x E-3A||–||Operating from Aktio FOB|
Hellenic Army and Navy Forces were also participating together with observers from Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, Poland and the USA. NTM22 was the last Tiger Meet with the participation of Czech Air Force Mi-35. During this summer, the Mi-35 will be retired and the unit will await the arrival of the first Bell AH-1Z and UH-1Y.
During the NTM22, complex air missions were carried out, covering a wide range of scenarios of modern Air Warfare (Defence/Offensive Air Operations, Air Isolation, Dynamic Targeting, Operations to Suppress/Destroy Enemy Air Defence, Maritime Operations, Combat Search and Rescue Missions, etc.). This year special focus was on Maritime Operations and night missions. In total, more than 600 sorties were flown across the whole Athens Flight Information Region (FIR).
On a typical NTM day, local missions and DACT missions take place in the morning, while COMAO missions take place in the afternoon. Smaller CAS/CSAR missions are being integrated into these COMAO missions. The annual NATO Tiger Meets promote interoperability and synergy among participants and contribute to a greater understanding and coordination between the Air Force and Army, Navy and Special Operations Forces.
It does this by conducting complex advanced operations in a realistic context using a variety of weapon systems to create a highly challenging training environment and increase the trainee readiness and combat capability. Not to be forgotten are the so-called “Tiger Games” at the weekend, which play a large part in this. This strengthens the social bond between all the units involved. At the end of the exercise there is the traditional farewell ceremony where various prizes are awarded, the most important being the Silver Tiger Trophy.
In his message to the participants, the Chief of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff, General Konstantinos Floros, noted the growing cooperation of the Hellenic Armed Forces with allies and partners, both bilaterally and multilaterally, aiming to address a variety of complex challenges and promote peace and stability across the region.
The NATO Tiger Meet 2023 will take place in Italy, at Gioia del Colle air base in Apulia.
Article and images: Marcus & Philipp Vallianos