NATO organized a great number of very interesting exercises in the past , involving the air forces of various countries: Best Hit for the southern forces, Royal Flush, a contest between NATO recce squadrons, Tactical Weapons Meet for the fighter-bomber units of Western Europe and so on. It seems that only the Tiger Meet (bringing together fighter squadron that have a tiger as a mascotte) has survived. Over the years we have visited quite a lot of these events and our findings are gathered here in this album.
BEST HIT was a NATO competition in which the air forces of Italy, Greece and Turkey took part ( together with a joint “guest-team” assembled from USAFE´s 401 Tactical Fighter Wing ,Torrejon, Spain and U.S. Navy squadrons VA-15 and VA-87 , while on deployment to the aircraft carrier USS Roosevelt in the Mediterranean Sea)
The 1976 TWM (Tactical Weapons Meet) was the 12th edition of central Europe’s tactical attack competion. It was was held at Twente AB (NL) from 28 April till 15 May , visited by Frank on the 7th and by Hans on the 10th of May. TWM was a contest between teams of 2ATAF (Allied Tactical Air Force) and 4ATAF. The team from 2ATAF consisted of NF-5As of 316 squadron KLu of Gilze-Rijen AB, Mirages of 1 sqn BAFBierset, Starfighters of 1/31 JaBo Luftwaffe from Nörvenich and Phantoms of 31 sqn RAFG. 4ATAF consisted of 1/32 JaBo Luftwaffe, 1 CAG Canada, 22TFS/36TFW USAF and 23TFS/52TFW USAF from Spangdahlem (flying F-4D’s ). The French AF had sent a guest team, 3/13 Escadre from Colmar, equipped with Mirage 5Fs.The chase planes were NF-5Bs of Twente.
Fliegerhorst Jever in Northern Germany hosted the 7th NATO Tactical Weapons Meet , which was an exercise between 2 & 4 ATAF (Allied Tactical Air Force). Units involved were : 311/312 sq.,K.Lu.(Volkel) ; 16 sq., RAFG (Larbruch); 3rd Wing, RCAF (Bad-Söllingen) ; 11th Escadre , FAF (Toul-Rosières); 50th TFW , USAFE (Hahn) ; 48th TFW , USAFE (Lakenheath) ; 10th Wing , BAF(Kleine Brogel); JBG31/33 , WGAF(Nörvenich/Büchel) and LeKG42 , WGAF (Pferdsfeld). This gallery comprises a photo-report of the aircraft participating and also of some visiting and resident aircraft. Hans visited the Meet from 17 to 19 June 1968. Some aircraft-spotting pictures could be taken on the 17th. Special thanks to J.A.H. van den Oever and F.Spangenberg.
In the old days NATO organized several exercises; TWM (Tactical Weapons Meet) was a competition between 2ATAF and 4ATAF (Allied Tactical Air Force). In 1972 it was held for the 10th time and participants at Florennes in Belgium were Canadian AF Starfighters (Judge Team), Belgian AF Starfighters) (2nd Wing , Florennes), French AF Mirages (Guest Team, Esc.11/3, Nancy-Ochey) ,W.German AF Starfighters (JBG31, Nörvenich and JBG33, Büchel), R.Neth.AF(311/312 sq., Volkel, Starfighters), Royal Air Force Germany (14/17/31 sq.,Brüggen with Phantoms) and USAF in Europe ( 36TFW, Bitburg and 81TFW, Bentwaters, Phantoms).
On 11-12 July 1972 Frank and Hans were invited to visit the NATO Helicopter Meet that was organized at Naval Air Station Lee-on-Solent, in Britain. The flight to and fro was made in Fokker F-27 “C-8” of the K.Lu. Participating to the Meet were delegations from the RAF (Whirlwind helis),Royal Navy (Wessex-helis), USAFE (Huskies), R.Danish Navy (Alouette IIIs), R.Danish Air Force (Sikorsky S-61s), R.Neth.AF (Alouette IIIs) , R.Neth.Navy (Agusta-Bell UH-1s) , French Navy (Alouette IIIs) , WGAF (Bell UH-1s), WGNavy (Sikorsky H-34s) and Italian AF (Agusta-Bell 204Bs).
The NATO Tiger Meet 2010 took place at Volkel AB; it showed participants from Holland, Belgium, Norway, Turkey, France, Hungary, Czech Republic, Germany and Austria. Hans and Frank attended the Spottersday that was organized on 7 October. (special thanks to EWAS & SGV)
In 2009 the annual NATO Tiger Meet exercise took place at Kleine Brogel AB, Belgium. Hans and Frank visited the base on 18 September.
From 28 -30 May 1974 Frank and Hans were invited to attend the 11th NATO Tactical Weapons Meet , organized at Canadian Forces Base Baden-Söllingen in Germany; they also joined in for a flight to the Suippes-Gunnery Range in Northern France in a Bell-helicopter of the Luftwaffe. Participants to the Meet this time were : (2 ATAF) R.Neth.AF , 315 sq., Twenthe ; (2ATAF) Belgian AF , 10th Wing , Kleine Brogel ; (2ATAF) Royal Air Force Germany, 17 sq., Brüggen ; (2ATAF) W.German AF , JBG31 , Nörvenich ; (4ATAF) W.German AF , JBG34 , Memmingen ; (4ATAF) Canadian AF , 439 sq., Söllingen ; (4ATAF) USAFE , 50TFW , Hahn ; (4ATAF) USAFE 36TFW , Bitburg ; (Guest Team) French AF , Escadre 3/13 , Colmar). Winner of the Meet was 2 ATAF which received the Broadhust Trophy. By the way , Hans and Frank wrote a vivid article on this subject in the July 1974-issue of Flash Aviation Magazine.
On July 17th, 1973 Hans and Frank visited the NATO-AIRSOUTH Fighter Weapons Meet BEST HIT, which was held at Istrana AB in Italy. Competing were teams of USAFE (613 TFS , 401 TFW, Torrejon ,Spain), US Navy (Carrier Attack Wing 7 , USS Independence) , Italian AF (8th Wing , Cervia) , Hellenic AF (341 sq., Nea Anghialos) and Turkish AF (192 sq.,Balikesir) . Photography appeared to be not allowed (!) during their visit and instead all the pictures shown in this gallery were taken by NATO-AIRSOUTH PR-officials during their walk-around along the flight-lines. The slide-scans are duplicates issued to them for publication together with the group-pictures.