Playing ‘Jazz’ in Frisian Skies

From 27 March till 7 April 2017, the annual international exercise Frisian Flag was held in The Netherlands. About 60 aircraft gathered at Leeuwarden Air Base. The exercise offers realistic training in modern scenarios. The participation countries train on interoperability between the participating countries and evaluate tactics. The exercise is a valuable training for real world deployments.

The most exiting participants for many people were this year the American F-15C Eagles from the Louisiana and Florida Air National Guard. The Florida unit was also present during the 2016 edition of FF. The Louisiana Eagles were new to the exercise. They are normally stationed at New Orleans, and wear the ‘JZ’ tail code, that comes from jazz music, where New Orleans is famous for. The Eagles fell under command of the 122th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, and stayed in Europe on several air bases for six months in total.

In 2017 the FF-participants came from Belgium (F-16), France (Mirage 2000), Germany (Eurofighter), The Netherlands (F-16), Portugal (F-16), United States (F-15), and United Kingdom (Tornado). A NATO E-3 provided early warning during the daily missions that were flown. Aerial refueling was done by different tanker aircraft from various nations, that operated out of Eindhoven Air Base in the south of The Netherlands. Electronic Warfare was provided by a civil DA20.