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The Year 2019




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A Dutch-German Sling Training

Rigging Heavy Cargo at the Heath; Edese Heide, January 23, 2019

In order to be well prepared for the future deployments of the Dutch and German cooperation between the Airmobile Brigade and the Division Schnelle Kr채fte, joint training is regularly organized. In the fourth week of January 2019, the Dutch and German air supply units of the Division Schnelle Kr채fte trained together on the Edese Heide in the Netherlands. The goal of the training was to be able to operate with each other. This means working with each other's material and equipment and by training a joint NATO standard procedure.

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4th Combat Aviation Brigade

The Ivy Eagle's from Colorado; Eindhoven, February 4 – 11, 2019

After a deployment of almost nine months in Europe , the 4th Infantry Division of the United States Army withdraws to the United States. The unit has operated in Eastern Europe in the context of Operation Atlantic Resolve. During this operation, the American military supports the European units at the European borders. The 4th Infantry Division is an infantry division of the United States Army and is based in Fort Carson in the state of Colorado. Fort Carson has traditionally been a mountain post of the army located southwest of Colorado Springs.

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6th Attack Recon Squadron 17th Cavalry

The 6th Cavalry Squadron; Eindhoven, February 4 – 11, 2019

The soldiers of the 6th Attack Reconnaissance Squadron of the 17th Cavalry are deployed in Europe for nine months as part of the ongoing mission to deter potential Russian aggression. Operation Atlantic Resolve started shortly after the annexation of the Crimea by Russia in 2014 as support for the European partners. The cavalry is an equestrian people in an army and it is traditionally the name for the military unit which moved and fought on horseback. This is in contrast to the infantry who fights on foot and moves on foot on the battle field.

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The Farewell of a Belgian Icon

Koksijde Rescue; Sea-King Farewell; Koksijde, March 21, 2019

The iconic Westland Sea King of the Belgian Air Force made for the very last time ever a landing at Koksijde Air Base in western Belgium on Thursday, March 21, 2019. After 42 years of operational service, the helicopter makes way for the new NH90 Caiman, which fully takes over the “Search & Rescue” (SAR) tasks. After more than 42 years of operational service, the Sea-King was finally retired from service. Ceremonies would be held throughout the day to symbolize the end of the Sea-King. The helicopters have made over 60,000 flying hours.

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The Carrier Battle Group

Mission Clemenceau, part 1; Charles de Gaulle, March 25 & 26, 2019

A Carrier Battle Group consists of an aircraft carrier and a large number of escorting vessels. A Carrier Battle Group is one of the most powerful maritime weapons of our time. During Mission Clemenceau, the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle and his battle group sails via the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean. The Task Force that sails around the Charles de Gaulle consists of several ships which have different tasks. In addition to all the French ships along the CSG, the French Navy also works together in a international context.

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Deployment During Mission Chammal

Mission Clemenceau, part 2; Charles de Gaulle, March 25 & 26, 2019

An important part of Mission Clemenceau was the deployment of Rafale aircraft in the fight against IS/ISIS/Daesh. The Charles de Gaulle was deployed in March 2019, to provide support from the sea during the French Mission Chammal against the terror caliphate in Syria and Iraq. Bombing missions against targets in Syria and Iraq were carried out from the sea with Marine Rafales. The most common missions are typical CAS missions (Close Air Support), DCA missions (Defense Counter Air) and Recce missions (reconnaissance flights).

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Surveillance with the Hawkeye

Mission Clemenceau, part 3; Charles de Gaulle, March 25 & 26, 2019

The French Navy has a total of three Grumman E-2C Hawkeye radar aircraft in use which can be deployed aboard the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle. These E-2Cs are important for the deployment of the Rafales and are used as a flying radar station. Two E-2C Hawkeye aircraft are available during Mission Clemenceau and Mission Chammal. The French Navy currently uses three E-2C Hawkeyes. These aircraft are assigned to the 4 Flottille. The planes are land based at Lorient/Lann-Bihoué in Brittany in western France.

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Rafale Marine Operations at Sea

Mission Clemenceau, part 4; Charles de Gaulle, March 25 & 26, 2019

Preparations for Mission Clemenceau have started months before the cruise was started. The fighter pilots of the 12 Flottille and the 17 Flottille have taken part in exercises during the preparation and have again achieved their deck landing qualifications. They are ready for deployment after two months of preparation. Until the end of 2016, the 17 Flottille was operational with the Dassault Super Etendard. This aircraft is now completely replaced by the Rafale in the French Navy. The 17 Flottille currently consists of fifteen pilots aboard the CdG.

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Helicopter Support on Board

Mission Clemenceau, part 5; Charles de Gaulle, March 25 & 26, 2019

In addition to the operations with the Rafale on board the Charles de Gaulle, there are also a number of helicopters on deck which are on standby to intervene. On the French aircraft carrier there are a number of SA365 Dauphin helicopters for SAR duties and an NH90 NFH Caiman for PR duties and anti-submarine tasks. The SA365 Dauphin is the primary SAR helicopter aboard the CdG. The crew of the Dauphin consists of four crew members during a typical SAR standby. The detachment of the 35 Flottille has two SA365 Dauphin's on board.

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Danish Contribution to Task Force 473

Mission Clemenceau, part 6; Charles de Gaulle, March 25 & 26, 2019

During Mission Clemenceau, the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle is guided by several ships from different partner countries in the Carrier Strike Group. For the Danish Navy it is the first time that a Frigate will sail along in a Carrier Strike Group. This Frigate is the Niels Juel, and has one EH101 Merlin on board. The Merlin is from the 722 Squadron which is based at the Danish airbase Karup. The most important objective for the Danes is the international partnership with the partner countries of Denmark like France and the French Navy.

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Practicing with the Eye on the Future

Frisian Flag 2019, part 1; Leeuwarden, April 1, 2019

Fighter pilots from different NATO and partner countries trained complex missions in an international context during Frisian Flag 2019 in the last two weeks. Over fifty aircraft took off from Leeuwarden Air Base in the Netherlands every day. Frisian Flag is an annual exercise that has become one of the largest in Europe. Today's missions are increasingly taking place in an extensive coalition context. The most important objective of the Frisian Flag exercise is to train participants in what is now the core of the expertise of a modern fighter pilot.

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International Training with NATO Partners

Frisian Flag 2019, part 2; Leeuwarden, April 1, 2019

In addition to the Dutch participants, many international participants were involved during Frisian Flag. For example, the French with their Mirages have become a familiar face in Leeuwarden in recent years. The American Air National Guard is also a returning participant who came to Leeuwarden Air Base with F-16Cs. The F-16Cs are from the 179th Fighter Squadron (179 FS) which is part of the 148th Fighter Wing (148 FW). This unit is based at the American Duluth Airport in Minnesota where it is part of the Minnesota Air National Guard.

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Partnership for Peace Participation

Frisian Flag 2019, part 3; Leeuwarden, April 1, 2019

A special participation in the Frisian Flag exercise at Leeuwarden Air Base this year was the participation of the Swiss Air Force with their F/A-18 Hornets. The Swiss are from Meiringen in the center of the country. Switzerland is not a NATO member state and therefore it’s not standard they are participating in Frisian Flag. In connection with the upcoming evaluation period for the new type of fighter aircraft of the Swiss Air Force, the Frisian Flag exercise was the only foreign exercise in which the Swiss Air Force could participate this year.

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European Air Refuelling Training 2019

Practicing Air to Air Refuelling; Eindhoven, April 4, 2019

This year, the European Air Transport Command (EATC) at Eindhoven Air Base organized the tanker exercise European Air Refueling Training (EART) for the 6th year in a row. The tankers from different partner nations will fly daily missions from Eindhoven Air Base to refuel the combat aircraft participating in Frisian Flag 2019. The EART 2019 took place this time from Monday April 1st to Friday April 12th. During these two weeks, international parties will train intensively together to be ready for future European deployment in crisis areas.

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The Claws of the Dark Smoking Tiger

The NATO Tiger Meet 2019, part 1; Mont de Marsan, May 17, 2019

This year the NATO Tiger Meet took place at the French airbase Mont de Marsan in the south west of France. The French unit Escadron de Chasse 3/30 “Lorraine” was to host the Tiger Meet this year where international members will meet. The meeting is always surrounded by traditions where the team spirit is central. With the main goals of sharing experiences, increasing interoperability, exemplary values and team spirit as a guiding principle, the NATO Tiger Meet has developed into an important exercise within NATO in more than 50 years.

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Objectives of the Tiger Meet

The NATO Tiger Meet 2019, part 2; Mont de Marsan, May 17, 2019

The NATO Tiger Meet is not only about the team spirit and the traditions which are being propagated. In addition to these social activities, it is also about training the tough reality of modern scenarios during various conflicts. Different scenarios are practiced daily in which two training waves a day are launched. One of the most important objectives of the NATO Tiger Meet is the exchange or transfer of knowledge between the different participating countries. This concept enhances interoperability between the participants.

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Knowledge Center of the Rafale

The NATO Tiger Meet 2019, part 3; Mont de Marsan, May 17, 2019

Mont de Marsan is nowadays the most important knowledge center for the Dassault Rafale deployment in France. Operational experiments with this type and the Dassault Mirage 2000D are performed daily at the airbase. There are also a few operational units on Mont de Marsan that are all part of Escadron de Chasse 30. The BA118 “Colonel Rozanoff” Air Force Base Mont de Marsan is nowadays regarded as one of the most important operational airfields of the French air forces and accommodates more than 66 operational units and many aircraft.

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