OCU celebration combined with Operational Integration exercise at Kleine Brogel

After a year of absence, in 2007 the Operational Integration Exercise was held again at Kleine Brogel airbase in North of Belgium. Together with the exercise the Operational Conversion Unit (OCU) celebrated its 20th anniversary. The OCU is the Belgian training unit for F-16 pilots. For this occasion a Belgian F-16B received a special tail painting.

Operational Integration Exercise
During the exercise all aspects of modern air operations were being tested out in flight. Taking advantage of the presence of a large number of foreign military aircraft, international cooperation could be exercised in different scenarios. The exercise ran from 16 July until 18 July.  Tuesday, the 17th, was the main exercise day. On this day three different scenarios were performed.

COMAO (Composite Air Operation)
The COMAO was the main scenario. Two COMAO missions were flown this day over reserved airspace with the classical Blue Air and opposing Red Air forces. The used scenario was a fictive regime called ‘Scandimania’ that occupied Northwest Germany and parts of the Netherlands. The scenario involved attacks on Wittmund AB and Nordholz AB in Germany. The Blue forces were being air-refueled by a USAF KC-135 and RAF VC-10 tanker.

DACT (Dissimilar Air Combat Training)
The DACT mission included dog fights between French Rafales and Mirage 2000s, RAF Typhoons, Czech Gripens and Portuguese and Belgian Vipers.

CSAR (Combat Search and Rescue)
The CSAR demonstration was held at Kleine Brogel AB itself. During the mission, two F-16s searched for and located a ‘downed’ crew while two Czech ALCA’s provided Close Air Support (CAS) in order to destroy some enemy vehicles. The crew was recovered in a British Puma while Belgian A-109 helicopters destroyed another attacking vehicle, while protecting the Puma.

The 2007 exercise saw a large number of foreign participants on Belgium soil. No less than 12 different countries sent one or more types of aircraft to Kleine Brogel to participate in the exercise. More than 50 different planes could be witnessed. Most welcomed was perhaps the Hellenic Air Force with ancient A-7s and F-4s and their modern F-16s.