Allied fighters integrated with two U.S. Air Force B-52s during Exercise Frisian Flag in Leeuwarden Air Base, the Netherlands on 7 April 2022. The Allied fighters from France, Canada, Italy, Germany the United Kingdom, and the United States have been participating in high-intensity combat training over the past two weeks. This mission saw both Allied fighters and bombers working together on escort procedures as well conducting strikes against land-based targets. This is the second time the bombers have supported a large-force exercise during this deployment.
“This is a prime example of exercising our forces as a collective,” said Gen. Jeff Harrigian, NATO Allied Air Command, and U.S. Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa Commander. “We have to take these opportunities to get everyone on the same page. By collaborating with our Allies and partners, we’re figuring out what we can do together, so we aren’t rushing to failure when it counts.”
Last month, Allied fighter aircraft and support equipment arrived in Leeuwarden to participate in the two-week exercise. Exercises and operations like this involving Allies and Partners allow the opportunity to train in unfamiliar environments, strengthen relationships and harness the Alliance’s collective capabilities. The B-52 bombers are currently operating out of the UK in support of the latest Bomber Task Force deployment.
Exercise Frisian Flag Is a major NATO multinational aerial exercise, held annually at Leeuwarden Air Base, Netherlands, over the North Sea and in the skies above the Netherlands, Germany, and Denmark. Missions flown during Frisian Flag included defensive and offensive air missions, protection of friendly aircraft, and Close Air Support (CAS) strikes. Some missions call for forwarding Air Controller units coordinate with fighter elements to attack ground targets. Surface-to-air missile systems enabled realistic exercise scenarios missions.