TLP 2007-5; Rafale´s first appearance at the TLPs
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 2007-5 arrived on Friday 28 September and the last participants departed on Friday 26 October. With TLP 2007-3 being held at Karup Air Base in Denmark and TLP 2007-4 being cancelled, it was six months ago since a TLP mission was flown from Florennes. The German and Italian Air Force send the largest delegation. The Belgium Air Force participated with five F-16s from 2 Wing from homebase Florennes. The Germans send five F-4F Phantoms from Wittmund and four Tornado IDSs from Nörvenich. The Italians came with three different aircraft types. Three Tornado IDSs from Ghedi, two F-16s from Trapani and two AMXs from Istrana. The Spanish Air Force send five EF-18As from Zaragoza and Torrejòn and two Mirage F.1s from Albacete. The Royal Air Force had a small delegation. Just two Hawk T.1s from RAF Leeming. The USAF send three F-16Cs from Aviano. But the most remarkable contestants were three Rafale Ms from the French Navy. It was the very first time that the Rafale participated in the TLP.
Belgium Air Force with F-16A and B from 2 Wing
French Navy with Rafale M from 12 Flotille
German Air Force with F-4F from JG-71 and Tornado IDS from JBG-31
Italian Air Force with F-16 from 37 Stormo, Tornado IDS from 6 Stormo, AMX from 51 Stormo
Royal Air Force with Hawk T.1A from 100 Sqn
Spanish Air Force with EF-18A+ from Ala 12 and Ala 15 and Mirage F.1M from Ala 14
USAF with F-16C from 555th FS