The final one
20 May 2009
|All good things must come to an end, sadly the Tactical Leadership Programme exercises at Florennes are no exception. After having been home based at Florennes in Belgium, the exercise will now be held at Albacete, Spain starting September 2009.|
The final exercise was good reason for the
Belgian Air Component to open the base's gates in order to allow the public
to witness the action. Another reason was an on base job market that day for
the young in order to kindle their interest in a job with the
military. Of course, the many aircraft enthousiasts who had descended
onto Florennes came for the action in the shape of one of the final TLP
missions to be flown from Belgian soil. The opportunity to do so from on
base was widely appreciated.
Contrary to TLP 2009-2, the third TLP in 2009 featured the F-16 in a large variety. This ranged from F-16AM's from the Belgian and Dutch air forces through almost brand new Polish F-16C's and rather new Greek F-16C's as well. Among the participating F-16's were the Belgian Tiger sprayed FA-87 from 31 sq, Kleine Brogel (left) and the Italian F-16A-15ADF MM7239 which unfortunately had already lost part of its fin decoration (below left).
|The Polish Air Force took part for the third time, having been external forces during TLP 2009-1 in january and a true participant in TLP2009-2. A very welcome sight was the two seater F-16D with its conformal fuel tanks fitted.|
|Besides the F-16's many other types could be enjoyed and photographed. Only one of the Spanish Eurofighters flew on May 20, the aircraft in question can be seen recovering after its mission to the left. The Czech Air Force again participated with their L.159A Advanced Light Combat Aircraft. A veteran by any standard is the Tornado, an example from the Italian Air Force is seen above right turning in for final approach.|
A sizable French contingent, both from the Navy as well as the Air Force completed the line-up for this TLP edition. Both the precision attack Mirage 2000D from Nancy's EC 3 as well as the nuclear oriented Mirage 2000N from Luxeuil's EC 4 took part. Last but not least, the Super Etendard Modernisť above right has been sprayed in a new grey colour scheme. This has specifically been applied for operation in the Afghan theatre, judging by the mission marks below the cockpit this has not gone without dropping live weapons for this particular machine.
Tactical Leadership Programme courses will be sorely missed by all who have witnessed them. It was a sure way to see many types from as many nations together on one base. It can be hoped that one day it will be possible to view TLP's from outside Albacete air base in Spain without encountering problems with the Spanish authorities who have never been too keen in this respect. Time will tell.....
All pictures (c) Hans Rolink