Teaching the teachers
Fighter Weapons Instructor Training at Leeuwarden, the Netherlands

July-August 2002


For some years, the Royal Netherlands Air Force's airbase at Leeuwarden has been playing host to the Fighter Weapons Instructor Training, or FWIT for short. FWIT is a multi-national course during which seasoned F-16 pilots are being trained to act as instructors on the F-16's weapons systems. 

FWIT aims to teach the instructors everything there is to know about the systems, weapons  and tactics concerning the F-16A/B. Despite the fact that the European Air Forces of Norway, Denmark, Belgium and the Netherlands fly 1980's vintage A and B models, most have now been brought up to the MLU standard making them virtually equivalent to the F-16C/D Block 52 from an avionics standpoint. 

2002's FWIT was an effort by host nation the Netherlands along with Belgium and Norway. Denmark's Flyvevaabnet did not need any new instructors this time. The division of students was five from the  Royal Netherlands Air Force and two from the Royal Norwegian and Belgian Air Forces.

As in previuos occasions, FWIT was made up of an Air to Air phase and an Air to Ground phase. For noise abatement reasons, only the Air to Air phase was flown out of Leeuwarden. This took place between 10 June and 23 August 2002. The Air to Ground phase played from Orland in Norway between 9 September and 10 December and includes use of the Hjerkinn range.  FWIT brought a number of Belgian and Norwegian F-16's to Leeuwarden, along with USAFE F-15C's as Dissimilar Air Combat Training sparring partners. Finnish F-18C Hornets planned for a second round of DACT in August 2002 were unfortunatly cancelled.

All pictures (c) Hans Rolink.

Royal Netherlands Air Force F-16's like J-001 took part in FWIT 2002.  This 322 sq jet is caught right before touchdown on Leeuwarden's 24 runway.

Leeuwarden, 11 July 2002.


Giving the course a multinational flavour were the Royal Norwegian Air Force F-16's. 674 of 331 Skvadron is lined up on the taxiway near the 24 runway.

Leeuwarden, 11 July 2002.


Less rare a sight in the Netherlands are the F-16's of the Belgian Air Force. Depicted here is F-16AM FA-94  taxying back to it's place in the visiting aircraft flightline. Note the AIM-120 AMRAAM training round on the wingtip.

Leeuwarden, 11 July 2002.


FA-77, one of the other Belgian participants is seen taxying in after completing it's mission.

Both FA-77 and FA-94, see above, belong to Kleine Brogel's 10 Wing. Unfortunately however, no squadron badges were carried by any of the Belgian aircraft.

Leeuwarden, 11 July 2002.


Dissimilar Air Combat Training, aka DACT, was an important part of the Air-to-Air phase. The USAFE provided this service with 493 FS F-15C Eagles from RAF Lakenheath. Aircraft 86-0154/LN can be seen prior to it's afternoon mission. 

Leeuwarden, 11 July 2002.


Another of the 493 FS Eagles present during July 2002 was 86-0160/LN. It is seen here on it's way back to the visiting aircraft flightline. Note that the Eagles flew without any external tanks, thus limiting endurance but increasing agility.

Leeuwarden, 11 July 2002.