Frisian Flag (1th of April) 2022 Leeuwarden Air Base the Netherlands

Frisian Flag (1th of April) 2022 Leeuwarden Air Base the Netherlands

Frisian Flag (1th of April) 2022 Leeuwarden Air Base the Netherlands

For the first time in 3 years, the international fighter flying exercise Frisian Flag started again on 28 March. The past 2 years, the event was cancelled because of the coronavirus. Until April 8, dozens of national and international aircraft are training from Leeuwarden Air Base. This is done to be ready for every mission at all times. The importance of this makes the war in Ukraine once again clear. Fighter pilots there now keep a daily eye on the eastern border of NATO territory with their aircraft.

Aircraft from Canada, Germany, England, France, Italy, the Netherlands, and the United States were active in the airspace above the sea. The Royal Netherlands Air Force was present with both the F-16 and the F-35. There was also flying with transport aircraft, Apache attack helicopters and Cougar transport helicopters. About 30 aircraft participated in the exercise every day. The purpose of Frisian Flag is to prepare the pilots for cooperation during large-scale conflicts in an international context. This happens for example in threatening situations, such as in the past over Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq and now at the eastern border of NATO territory.

During Frisian Flag, use was made of the large military training area above the North Sea and Northern Netherlands. In addition to Leeuwarden Air Base, the NATO training area the Vliehors Range on Vlieland, De Kooy Maritime Air Base and the Marnewaard military training area were also opened for exercises. In the area between De Kooy Naval Air Station and the Marnewaard, helicopters are allowed to fly low. The fighter planes fly at a minimum altitude of 2,000 meters, except during take-off and landing.

The participation of Apache attack helicopters in Frisian Flag is for the first time, just like the Cougars. Reason is added scenarios in war zones. For example, fighter planes clear part of the airspace in enemy territory where casualties have occurred. Cougars then carry out a medical evacuation under the protection of one or more Apaches and transport the wounded soldiers to a hospital as quickly as possible.

The location of Leeuwarden Air Base makes it ideal for the exercises. The airbase is located in the middle of the largest training area in Western Europe. This allows for optimal use of the flight time. The exercises take place on weekdays from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. There is only flying in the evenings and weekends if, for example, technical support is needed for the foreign participants.


Airshow Photography by Henk Tito
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