Tigers in the Sky of the Landes
(Source: French Air Force, issued May 17, 2019)
(Unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com)
Using a specially-themed staff car, the exercise director for NATO Tiger Meet 2019 reviews the troops before the beginning of the exercise, which brings together NATO “Tiger” squadrons at Mont-de-Marsan air-base, in SW France. (French AF photo)
This year, it will bring together 60 fighter planes and 13 helicopters from over ten countries (including France, Germany, Spain, Great Britain, Italy, Portugal, Belgium and Austria) under a common emblem: the tiger.

For ten days, 1,500 airmen will conduct, each morning, very high intensity operations, called COMAO (Combined Air Operations). These operations gather within the same formation several types of different aircraft (fighters, helicopters, E-3F Awacs, etc.) and allow different squadrons to compete on various scenarios in which the pilots are in turn aggressors (red) or allies (blue).

In the afternoon, it is the turn of several "shadow waves" to take off. These missions, less complex than the COMAO, are planned in priority for the benefit of the youngest pilots. They include visual combat, close air support (CAS) or electronic warfare, for example. Essential training, they are a necessary passage to be able to lead then COMAO.

The unit responsible for organizing this "NATO Tiger Meet", with the support of Air Base 118 and the major commands of the Air Force, is Squadron 3/30 "Lorraine," which just had an exceptional year. "Long months of work were needed to prepare for this large-scale exercise. It was a big challenge because, at the same time, it was necessary to maintain the sustained operational rhythm of the squadron," explains Lieutenant-Colonel Hugues Fouquet, Director of the exercise.

The exchange, the transmission of know-how and the reinforcement of the interoperability with allied nations are the primary objectives of the French squadron for this exercise.

"When Tiger squadrons later meet up in foreign theaters, we are able to plan and conduct large-scale operations in a limited time," says Lt-Col Fouquet. To continue to develop the special bond that binds us is therefore paramount.

"There is no doubt that their Tiger counterparts will share the same state of mind, during the exercise as well as after.


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