frisian flag 2018
Copyright: Royal Netherlands Air Force

Exercise Frisian Flag 2018: more than 70 NATO military aircraft in the Netherlands

From April 8 to 20, Leeuwarden Air Base in the north of the Netherlands will be the venue for the international live-fly fighter Exercise Frisian Flag 2018. More than 70 military aircraft from Dutch Host Nation as well as France, Germany, Poland, Spain and the United States of America will conduct joint flying missions in combined Dutch, Danish and German airspace.

A NATO Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) plane will control some of the exercise flying activity and a DA-20 jet from civilian contractor Cobham will simulate a jamming environment.

Planned, prepared and led by the Royal Netherlands Air Force, Exercise Frisian Flag aims to develop leadership skills among all participants. Daily routine missions will be trained in an Allied setting using Allied tactics, techniques and procedures. Experienced pilots will have the opportunity to devise, develop and eventually carry out and evaluate their missions putting leadership skills to the test and exploiting training benefit to the maximum. The main aim is to make aircrews fit for their real-world airpower missions in an Alliance or Coalition context.

Missions flown during Frisian Flag include air defence missions, offensive missions, missions to protect other aircraft and engagement of static and moving targets on the ground or at sea. Allied fighter aircraft will operate independently or in close coordination with of Army or Navy units, e.g. Forward Air Controllers.

The independent European Air Refuelling Training (EART) conducted out of Eindhoven Air Base will be integrated into exercise Frisian Flag. Several Allied tanker aircraft will conduct refuelling of fighter aircraft. This is an important enabler and further serves to underline the practical training benefit for international fighter and tanker aircrews

Military exercises are important tools through which the Allies test and validate concepts, procedures, systems and tactics. The aim of the multinational exercises is to increase the readiness and flexibility of our forces. For several years, Exercise Frisian Flag has proven the importance and necessity of a major international live-fly exercise as participants from all over Europe and America are eager to be part of the event. Deployed at Leeuwarden Air Base, the fighter jets will be launched for training missions in waves twice a day.

NATO Combat aircraft

Germany EF-2000 Eurofighter (8x)
Cobham DA-20 (1x)
French M-2000D Dassault Mirage (5x)
Rafale (8x)
Netherlands F-16 Fighting Falcon (16x)
Poland F-16 Fighting Falcon (5x)
MIG-29 Fulcrum (3x)
Spain F-18 Hornet (7x)
USA F-15 Eagle (12x)

Source: NATO Allied Air Command, Royal Netherlands Air Force