TLP 2007-2; Greek Vipers of 347 Mira are back after five years
The Tactical Leadership Programme was founded in the late 19seventies. Its purpose was to join allied forces and train together in joint operations, but also to generate leaders for challenging multinational air defence and air strike missions. The TLP is a standalone organization based on a Memorandum of Understanding between the air forces of Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. During the years other nations have been invited as guests to participate.
The first TLP ever was held at Fürstenfeldbruck Air Base, Germany, in January 1978, but this first edition was strictly academic. The TLP moved to Jever AB, Germany, in September 1979 and the academic course was extended with a flying phase. When the TLP left Jever in 1988, 71 courses were held there and over 1900 aircrews were trained. Florennes AB in Belgium was appointed as the new homebase for the TLP, and hosted its first TLP in March 1989. The TLP stayed at Florennes until July 2009, when the exercise moved to Albacete, Spain, where weather conditions are far better and the aircrews have a large airspace structure to their usage.
The first participants of TLP 2007-1 arrived on Monday 5 March and the last participants departed on Friday 30 March. The Czech Air Force joined the TLP with five Aero L-159 Alca (Advanced Light Combat Aircraft) planes from Caslav Airbase, the Czech Republic’s only fighter base. The French Air Force dispatched eight Mirages: two Mirages 2000Ds, three Mirage F.1CTs and three Mirage F.1CRs. The Germans sent a small delegation, sending only two Tornados from Büchel Airbase. The Hellenic Air Force usually rotates between the squadrons that participated at the TLP. After five years it was 347 Mira’s turn again. Four Vipers from Nea Anchialos Airbase, near the eastern shores of the Greek mainland, arrived on 5 March. The Italian Air Force joined with three F-16s from Trapani Airbase, the Spanish Air Force with four EF-18A+s from Zaragoza Airbase, two F/A-18As from Gran Canaria and a Falcon 20 from Torrejón Airbase. The Royal Air Force came with a large Tornado delegation again. No less than eight Tornado F.3s participated. Four from 25 Sqn. from RAF Leeming, and four “Fighting Cocks” from 43 Sqn. at RAF Leuchars. Finally, the United States Air Force send participants from their fighter bases in Europe. Three F-15Es from RAF Lakenheath and three F-16Cs from Spangdahlem Airbase.
Czech Air Force with L-159A from 21.zTL
French Air Force with Mirage 2000D from EC.01.003 and EC.03.003 and Mirage F.1CT from 01.030 and 02.030and Mirage F.1CR from EC.01.033 and EC.02.033
German Air Force with Tornado IDS from JBG-33
Hellenic Air Force with F-16C from 347 Mira
Italian Air Force with F-16A from 37 Stormo
Royal Air Force with Tornado F.3 from 25 and 43 Squadron
Spanish Air Force with EF-18A+ from Ala 15, F/A-18A from Ala 46 and a Falcon 20 from Grupo 47
USAF with F-15E from 494th FS and F-16C from 22nd FS.