From 9-20th of April the 2018 edition of the full scale exercise “Frisian Flag” is taking place and is organized at Leeuwarden Air Base, The Netherlands. The exercise is conducted for two weeks in several designated areas over the North Sea to work out large complex missions with +/- 40 fighter jets, tankers and AWACS radar aircraft.
During this edition of the Frisian Flag six different NATO allies participated in the exercise; The Netherlands, France, Germany, Spain, Poland and the United States.
It is important that the pilots from all the different countries train together and to get used to each other during the missions. The exercise focuses on international coörporation, precision and the leadership skills from the participating NATO squadrons, to prepare the pilots for future coöperative operations within NATO.
In order to create a realistic enviroment, several scenarios are plotted and prepared by the air crews. Twice a day missions are prepared and flown by waves of +/- 40 aircraft from Leeuwarden Air Base situated in the north of The Netherlands and close to the North Sea training area’s.
The aircrews have to prepare and execute specific scenario’s vary from air interdiction missions preventing hortile air forces to enter a designated area to attacking specified ground targets coörperating with forward air controllers both on land or at sea. During these missions the mission leader has to plan and execute the mission against these targets while minimize loses.
In addition to the participating NATO members, United States Air Force (USAF) F-15’s from the Oregon and Massachusetts Air National Guard (ANG) also participated in the exercise. After the exercise the F-15’s will stay in Europe to continue the USAF presence as part of the expeditionary force Atlantic Resolve.