Frisian Flag exercise back after two years absence
After cancelation in 2003 and 2004, Frisian Flag exercise was held again in 2005. From 26 September until 7 October 2005 Leeuwarden Air Base in The Netherlands was the place to be for this multi-national training.
There were two missions flown daily. One in the morning and one in the afternoon. The largest part of the missions was flown over the nearby North Sea. The reserved training area over the North Sea stretched out until the Danish border. During missions, the bombing range Vliehors at the isle of Vlieland and military terrains Marnewaard and Zurich were used.
Originally eight countries would participate at this Frisian Flag. Unfortunately, three countries cancelled not long before the exercise started. The Spanish Air Force withdraw their EF-18As, the French Air Force their Mirage 2000s and the Belgian Air Force their F-16s. But there will still around 35 participants at Leeuwarden when the exercise started on Monday 26 September.
Of course, the Royal Netherlands Air Force was at Leeuwarden with F-16s from four of its squadrons. The German Air Force came with four F-4F Phantoms from Wittmund Air Base, the Finnish Air Force participated with six F-18Cs, the Swedish Air Force with six JAS-39As and finally the Royal Air Force with six old Jaguar GR.3As from RAF Coltishall. Them being old could obviously be seen when one of the missions was flown in pouring rain. Where the Swedish Gripens decided that the rain was too heavy and they wouldn’t join this mission, the Jaguars taxied by with cockpit glass that was so steamed up that you could hardly see through it. Air-to-air refueling was provided by a Dutch KDC-10 which flew from Eindhoven Air Base. An E-3A AWACS flew out of Geilenkirchen Air Base to provide airborne early warning, command and control and battle management.