A fleet of international fighter jets is currently filling the skies over parts of the northern Netherlands and the North Sea. Around 65 fighter aircraft, from F-16 Falcons to F-18 Hornets and Eurofighter Typhoons, have descended on Leeuwarden Air Base to participate in the international exercise "Frisian Flag", which will last until 27 April.

The aim of the exercise is to train for realistic combat situations in broad international contexts, with an emphasis on cooperation and communication. Experience in Afghanistan and Libya has shown the importance of working together internationally.

Hornets and Falcons The air base accommodates approximately 65 aircraft, about 50 of which are conducting two sorties per day. In addition to 12 Dutch F-16s, the Polish, Norwegian and Belgian air forces have also sent contingents of F-16s. Other types of fighters represented include Finnish F-18 Hornets, Swedish JAS-39 Gripens and British and German Eurofighter Typhoons. The Dutch KDC-10 is serving as a tanker aircraft during the exercise, while NATO and the UK have deployed AWACS airborne radar stations. Air combat and traffic control is provided by the Air Operations Control Station at Nieuw-Milligen, Netherlands, in collaboration with the German and Danish air combat and traffic control units. (info: www.defensie.nl)

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