TLP 2005-03

Florennes, Belgium, May 2005


The third Tactical Leadership Course to be held at the Belgian Air Component Base of Florennes during 2005 ran during April and May that year. Like any TLP including the  2005-2 edition described here, it was intended to train NATO pilots in the art of working together in large formations of diverse aircraft types from various nations. Unlike TLP 2005-2 however, the emphasis of the aircraft types deployed with TLP 2005-3 was more on multirole and air defense types than on the specialised mud-movers during the previous course. The course during March had seen British Tornado GR.4's alongside French Mirage 2000N's en Greek F-4E(AUP)'s. 

TLP 2005-3's flightline saw a particularly heavy Spanish delegation made up of EF-18A Hornets, Mirage F.1M's and EAV-8B Harriers. The Hornets are of course Spain's most capable fighters. This time, the EF-18's were from Zaragoza's Ala 15. 

Spain's Ejercito del Aire's oldest fighter is the Mirage F.1M. Ala 14 flies all of the survivors which have in recent years seen a comprehensive upgrade, allowing them to serve until the Eurofighter EF-2000 is fully operational. One should be able to see Spanish Mirages until the end of this decade, however.
The Spanish Armada is one of a handfull of services in the world to operate an aircraft carrier, albeit a small one. The carrier Principe de Asturias can embark a small number of Harriers alongside it's complement of Sea King helicopters. In this view, an EAV-8B is seen on take off for it's mission on 12 May. Although they have been delivered initially without radar, the Harriers now have an APG-65 set like with the EF-18 Hornet, making them very capable machines.

This time, the host country Belgium took part in a TLP course as well. It was even Florennes' own 2 Wing that was involved with both F-16AM single seaters and F-16BM two seaters like the one shown here. Because of it's presence in so many of Europe's air forces, one can expect to see F-16's during any TLP course.
Slightly less frequent TLP participants are the F-16's of Portugal's Força Aerea. The Portuguese Air Force currently operates only one squadron of fighters, this being Esc 201 at Monte Real. A second one, to be equipped with ex-USAF Block 15's is to be raised after these aircraft have gone through a Mid Life Update programme. The jet seen hee is an F-16A Block 15ADF based one from the original batch delivered during the 1990's.

Of all the European NATO nations, Turkey is in possesion of the largest fleet of F-16's. The F-16C seen here in take-off from Florennes is a Block 40 sub-type from 143 Filo / 4 Ana Jet Us based at Akinci near Ankara. 
One of the three types of fast jets serving in Italy's Aeronautico Militare is the AMX. Designed by Italy's Aeritalia and Brazil's EMBRAER, this was the only AMX taking part in 12 May's TLP mission. 13°Gruppo belonging to 32° Stormo at Amendola had sent two AMX's to Florennes, but for some reason, the second one did not fly.

Like TLP 2005-2, TLP 2005-3 did see some Tornado's. Two versions of the type took part, both from the British Royal Air Force. This time it was the turn of No.2 sq from RAF Marham, which had sent a trio of Tornado GR.4A reconnaisance specialised aircraft.
Rarely seen on the continent, a Tornado F.3 interceptor from No. 11 sq, RAF Leeming, takes off for it's TLP mission. Note the large grey fuel tanks under the wings of the GR.4A and the smaller camouflaged fuel tanks carried by the F.3. It has been common practice since the first Gulf War for the RAF Tornado force to swap these fuel tanks between versions. Originally, the large tanks were intended for the F.3. 


Playing the role of agressor was the purpose during TLP 2005-3 of a trio of BAe Hawk trainers. The jets came from No. 19(R) sq, RAF Valley and were flown by instructors attached to this training unit.

Visiting Florennes during the final day of a TLP has the advantage that many participants leave for home at the end of the day, floowing debriefing the last mission. In order to pick up equipment and ground staff, transport aircraft from the various participating nations may be expected to arrive during the day. This view shows a Spanish Air Force CASA C.295 from Ala 35 based at Madrid-Getafe.

The Turkish Air Force sent two of it's C-160D Transalls into Florennes to take home the F-16 detachment. One of them can be seen here. This Transall displays the badge from it´s operating unit, 221 Filo, part of 12 Hava Ulaştirma Ana Üssü (12 HUAU) from Erkilet. This unit is the Turkish Air Force's transport wing. 

All pictures (c) Hans Rolink