Operational Integration Exercise 2007

Kleine Brogel, Belgium

17 July 2007


Kleine Brogel Air Base in Belgium once again staged its Operational Integration Exercise. Aim was to improve interoperability of a number of diverse types of aircraft from a variety of nations. Something that is only achieved after live training. The hospitable Belgians took the opportunity to invite the aviation enthousiast fraternaty on base. Many of these people, including the undersigned were on the road anyway following the conclusion of the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford, UK. 

OIE 2007 proved to live up to the expectations set by many previous Kleine Brogel exercises and events. The flightline was headed by the F-16BM shown at the left, painted to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the F-16 OCU at Kleine Brogel


Yes, finally! Kleine Brogel provided the opportunity to compare all three of the modern canard equipped fighters currently in production and operation in Europe. Sometimes dubbed Eurocanard, these include the Eurofighter Typhoon to the left, the Dassault Rafale centre and the Swedish SAAB JAS-39C Gripen to the right. The Typhoon was an F.2 model from the RAF's No. 29 sq from RAF Coningsby which functions as the type's conversion unit. The Rafale was one of the first to enter service with the French Air Force's Escadron de Chasse 1/7 at Saint Dizier, whilst the Gripen was actually an example from the Czech Air Forces 211 squadron at Caslav. In fact, no fewer than six Rafales could be seen at Kleine Brogel. Four from the French Navy, the other two from the Air Force.


Several aviation photographers had wished for the sort of banking take offs displayed by the Rafale above as well as by the German Luftwaffe's Tornado to the left. Kleine Brogel is unique in combining a real military exercise with certain show elements. No doubt, the crews enjoyed themselves too. Who doesn't want to show off their mounts capabilities!

The Hellenic Air Force was a particularly well equipped participant in OIE 07, with no less than three types present at KB. Apart from the modern F-16C, the HAF brought along the modernised F-4E(AUP) Phantom together with the A-7 Corsair. There were two of each of these elderly types present. One of the Corsairs was a TA-7C two seater.

Sadly for some, but very fortunate for those at the eastern end of Kleine Brogel's runway, the Greek A-7 drivers timed their overhead break for landing in such a manner that only a few people could shoot the top side of this A-7E. With gear down, the A-7 also makes for an interesting bottom view.


Sole Spanish Air force fast jet present was this CASA-Northrop F-5M. A modernised SF-5B, the F-5M is the Spanish Air Force's current LIFT (lead-in Fighter Trainer). Based at Talavera la Real with Ala 23, the F-5M is the advanced jet trainer for Spanish Air Force student fighter pilots.

F-16's naturally took center stage, with aircraft from the Belgian, Greek, Danish and Italian Air Forces  taking part in OIE 07. The other especially marked Belgian F-16 came from Florennes' 1 Squadron, which celebrates their 90th anniversary during 2007. Center, an anonymously marked F-16AM from the Danish Air Force with an Italian Air Force F-16A-15ADF banking sharply, pulling enough "G" to cause water vapour to condense over its strakes.


A very rare participant in OIE is this RAF VC.10 C.1K. Operated by No. 101 sq, RAF Brize Norton, Oxon, this example XV105 was decorated to commemorate the squadron's 90th anniversary.

With fine weather for the most part of the day, the OIE 07 spotter's day proved a very succesful day out. Thanks very much for your cooperation and hospitality, Kleine Brogel!

All pictures (c) Hans Rolink