A Frisian Flag with only Vipers and Eagles

The 2009 edition of the annual Frisian Flag exercise didn’t bring much variety of aircraft to Leeuwarden Air Base, The Netherlands.  Although the first rumors mentioned the Polish, Finnish and German Air Force as participants, at the start of the two-week exercise only the Royal Netherlands Air Force and United States Air Force were present.

The participants
The Royal Netherlands Air Force participated with F-16s from four different squadrons. Of course 322 and 323 Squadron from Leeuwarden Air Base itself, but also eight F-16s from 311 and 312 Squadron from Volkel AB.  The U.S. Air Force sent six F-15Cs from 493rd Fighter Squadron ‘The Grim Reapers’ from RAF Lakenheath in the United Kingdom.

Supporting aircraft
Besides the Eagles and Vipers, there were four other aircraft stationed at Leeuwarden during the exercise. For jamming the radar and communication systems, two civilian LearJet 35s and a Falcon 20 from the Royal Norwegian Air Force were present. A Dutch Fokker 50 also flew some missions for Frisian Flag from Leeuwarden AB. A Dutch KDC-10 and a KC-135 from the USAF performed air-to-air refueling for the Vipers and Eagles. The tankers flew from Eindhoven Air Base and RAF Mildenhall.

The training areas
The majority of the missions were flown in the training areas above the North Sea. Other areas that were used during Frisian Flag were the Vliehors shooting range and the exercise areas Marnewaard and Zurich in the west of the province Friesland.