AIR International – June 2018

(Jacob Rumans) #1
20 |


IF THERE’S one thing that many
European NATO air arms excel
at, it is fancy paint schemes.
None more so than those
created by the units in the
NATO Tiger Association. The
annual Tiger Meet, the event
around which so many tiger
schemes are designed, this year
took place at Krzesiny Air Base,
Poland between May 14 and 25.
Poland’s main F-16 operating
base, Krzesiny is home to two
squadrons, one of which, 6.
Eskadra Lotnictwa Taktycznego
or 6.elt (6th Tactical Aviation
Squadron) is a Tiger Association
member, and this year’s host
unit. Thirteen nations, 22
squadrons and 80 aircraft
and helicopters and 2,
personnel participated.
Over 1,000 sorties were fl own
amounting to 1,500 hours during
the two-week event including
eight COMAOs (Composite
Air Operations) in di erent
scenarios and 50 training fl ights
in multiple formations.
Daily fl ight operations were
divided between morning and
afternoon missions. Morning ops
involved the COMAO missions
fl own in reserved airspace over
northern Poland, with aircraft
and helicopters coordinated as
a large strike package. Unlike
the morning COMAOs, missions
fl own each afternoon were
dubbed shadow missions.

What’s a shadow mission? One
involving several formations each
conducting selected components
of the exercise, and trained in one
specifi c element. The objective
is to provide pilots with a variety
of tasks and additional solid
experience for further COMAOs.
An F-16 pilot assigned to 6.elt
with responsibility for planning
and executing the COMAOs
explained the planning involved:
“We had to take into account a
lot of factors, including types of
jets, available fuel, and carefully
plan each wave of fi ghters, so that
no one was left without cover. It
may not look that challenging,
but the planning and briefi ngs are
sometimes hard to coordinate”.
But all Tiger Meets are
organised to not just be about
fl ying. As with previous editions,
an international day was
organized so teams comprising
personnel from all countries had
the chance, in a social setting,
to try local Polish food and
specialities. One crew member
from the NATO E-3 described
the day as an example of the
tiger spirit. In addition to its
international day, an air show
was held at nearby Poznan-
Lawica airport on May 19 and 20,
providing the public a chance to
see some of the 80 aircraft and
helicopters on display.
But what about those tiger-
style paint schemes mentioned

Eye of the tiger

Filip Modrzejewski reports from Krzesiny Air Base,
Poland, venue for the NATO 2018 tiger meet

All images Filip Modrzejewski

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