• Frank Visser

2010 Frisian Flag

Updated: Feb 3, 2018


On April 12 one of the largest exercises in Europe started. This year seven countries participated in Frisian Flag exercise held at Leeuwarden Air Base. Frank Visser visited this exercise.


Frisian Flag is a two-week exercise involving approximately 40 fighter jets, USAFE KC-135s for

air-to-air refuelling, a NATO E-3 AWACS and a Norwegian Da-20 in the ECM-role.

Two RNLAF F-16s ready to depart Leeuwarden Air Base for a Frisian Flag mission.


It al started in 1992 and over the years evolved into a large force exercise named Frisian Flag from 1999 on. It is comparable to Red Flag exercise held at Nellis AFB, although smaller is size.


The organisation and planning is done by RNLAF pilots and during the two-weeks all sorts of scenarios are flow. For this participants fly as Red Air (enemy forces in the offensive role) and Blue Air (friendly forces in the defensive role).

The Data Link 16 center at Leeuwarden Air Base.


Inside the Data Link 16 a Dutch Navy operator seen during Frisian Flag exercise 2010.








Not only pilots get their training during Frisian Flag. Maintenance, Datalink 16, Patriot missile personnel and Forward Air Controllers all participate and benefit from this exercise making it as realistic as possible.


The air war could be followed from Leeuwarden Air Base









Participants Frisian Flag 2010:

Organizer of this exercise is the RNLAF. A total of 18 F-16AM/BMs (311,312,313,322 and 323 sqn.) from Leeuwarden and Volkel Air Base participated in this years Frisian Flag exercise.

The German Air Force was present with 6 F-4F from JG71 based at Wittmund.

F-15C 493 FS taking off.

United States Air Force Europe was present with 6 F-15Cs and 2 F-15Ds as seen in this photo.

The "Eagles" came from RAF Lakenheath and belong to the 493 FS.

8 Norwegian F-16AMs (331 and 332 Skv.) from Bodø were present. This F-16AM turns towards the runway for its take-off.

JAS39C from F21.

From the northern part of Sweden 6 JAS-39Cs and 1 JAS-39D seen here were participating. These "Gripens" belong to F21 from Luleå.

The F-18Cs of the Finnish Air Force were parked on the south side of Leeuwarden Air Base.

F-18C HävLLv 31.

A total of 6 F-18C from HävLLv 31 participated. They are normally based at Kuopio-Rissala.

Two brand new F-16Cs from Poland line up for their departure. A total of 5 F-16C and 1 F-16D of 6. elt from Poznan Air Base were present.

For ECM role Norway provide a Da-20 Falcon. This aircraft belongs to 717 Skv based at Rygge.


Also participating:

- Netherlands 1 AB-412SP 303 sqn (SAR) Leeuwarden

- United States 1 KC-135R 100ARW Mildenhall #

- NATO 1 E-3A NAEW&CF Geilenkirchen #


# Operated from their homebase.

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