NATO Tiger Meet,

Schleswig-Jagel, Germany

3 September 2004


An almost annual event to be found on the aviation calender is the get-together of NATO flying units with a tiger in the unit's crest, the Tiger Meet. First held in 1961 at the now closed RAF Woodbridge. During the sixties and seventies more and more units joined the club initially just comprising the RAF's No. 74 sq, the USAFE's 79 TFS and the French Air Force's EC 1/12 "Cambresis". The latter one is the sole surviver of the original trio. Over the years, the Tiger Meet evolved from a social get-together to a real flying exercise. 

Now, in 2004, it was the turn of the German Air Force's Aufklärungsgeschwader 51 (Reconnaisance Wing 51) to organise the NATO Tiger Meet. NTM04's venue was to be Schleswig-Jagel which has been AG 51's base since it moved here from Bremgarten in 1994. 



Fortunately or the many aviation enthusiasts, Jagel organised a Photo Call on the last day of the Tiger Meet, Friday 3 September 2004. 2004? Oh, well, another reason for celebration, 10 years in Schleswig.

Key to the Tiger Meets has always been the respraying of in particular the host unit's aircraft in something resembling a tiger's skin. This Tornado 43+96 of AG 51 "Immelmann" could be seen resplendant in a new tiger livery. The same jet had been sprayed in another Tiger paint scheme during the previous season of 2003, but gained a new coat since.


One of the oldest Tiger Association members and the one to organise 2003's edition at Cambrai is EC 1/12 "Cambresis"of the French Armee de'l Air. To the left is one of the unit's Mirage 2000RDI, serialled 97/12-YT. This jet's paint scheme is certainly less flamboyant than the one applied to 83/12-YL at Cambrai in 2003.

However, using the basic colours of the Mirage's camouflage paints, the local painter still managed to apply an attractive design.


Just as to 2003, the other French Tiger Meet Association member, CEAM 5/330 from Mont de Marsan now painted one of their Mirage 2000-5F's up in tiger marks. In this picture, 77/330-AX can be seen climbing out during the morning mission on 3 September 2004. Note that after a week of flying at least, the paint is already starting to flake! The same jet had some tiger artwork applied in 2003, albeit somewhat les colourful.

Since 1981 the Swiss Air Force's Fliegerstaffel 11 had enjoyed an honorary status within the NATO Tiger Association. In 2004 the unit gained full membership. Maybe that's why the Swiss applied a stylish tiger lobbing an AMRAAM missile at some unseen foe. The device was only applied to F/A-18C J-5011.

Like in 2003, the Turkish Air Force's 192 Filo had made the trip from their base at Balikesir. Like last year as well, they brought along F-16D 93-0696. Unlike last year however, the F-16 wore some traces of tiger livery in the shape of yellow/red bellyfins as well as tiger tanks. 

Some participants could not take part in the Meet and only arrived on the afternoon of the last day. Another unit departed for home on the last day. Spain's Escadron 142, part of Ala 14 at Albacete, was the example of the latter. Mirage F.1M C.14-22/14-15 is seen here departing Schleswig-Jagel prior to the take-off of the last Tiger Meet morning wave on 3 September 2004.

On the other hand, the Royal Netherlands Air Force's 313 sq came at the very last moment to show F-16AM J-366. The jet had been undergoing maintanance at it's home base Twenthe awaiting spares during most of the meet. Fortunately, it could be completed just in the nick of time.

The New Jersey Air National Guard's 141 ARS is a little known honorary member of the Tiger Association. NTM04 saw the participation of one of the unit's KC-135E tankers, however. A welcome addition to the flying exercise that could extend the range of at least some of the participants. KC-135E 57-1431 is seen here returning from it's mission, note the large tiger's head on the fuselage. 

This 231. Vrtulni Letka (helicopter squadron) Mi.24V of the Czech Air Force is seen here making a fly past along the assembled photographers. 0705 had been sprayed in a tiger scheme which was partially full colour, partially toned down. It suited the Hind quite well!

Always a very motivated Tiger Meet participant, 31 sq from the Belgian Air Force. Unfortunately however, their Tiger marked F-16AM had broken down and thus did not fly. Not to be outdone, the others did fly resulting in this take-off shot of FA-68.

Finally, an example of the other German Air Force Tiger units, also flying Tornadoes. The first Staffel of JBG 32 at Lechfeld operates SEAD tasked Tornado ECR's like this one, 46+54, seen in full tiger livery. The second of two German Tornados during 2004's Tiger Meet to be suitably adornded. There is no lack of tiger spirit in the Luftwaffe.

Of course, many thanks and compliments to Jagel's Tiger Team for organizing the Meet, but in particular the excellent Photo Call on Friday 3 September.

All pictures (c) Hans Rolink