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Photo Report : NATO Tiger Meet 2016


NATO Tiger Meet 2016 Zaragoza

The annual NATO Tiger Meet was hosted by the Spanish Air Force's 15 Ala at Zaragoza, Spain. Photo report by Giovanni Mattioli

The NATO Tiger Meet (NTM) was held this year at Base Aérea de Zaragoza, Spain, home of the Spanish Air Force’s 15th Wing (Ejército del Aire - Ala 15) which has been a full NATO Tiger Association (NTA) unit since 2008. NTM 2016 started on May 16. The two-week exercise saw about a hundred aircraft, from fighters to helicopters and AEW&C aircraft, completing just under 1000 flight sorties.

This edition of NTM16 was the largest gathering in the history of NATO Tiger Association. NTM 2016 saw the first full participation by the newest NTA member, the German Air Force TaktLwG 74, while Spain's other Tiger unit, 142 Esc from Ala 14 at Albacete returned to take part again now the unit has transitioned to the Eurofighter Typhoon. In recent years 11F of the French Navy re-equipped with the Rafale M of course. And, even the Hellenic Air Force 335 Mira participated this year with its F-16C/D Block 52+ Advanced (or Block 52M) Fighting Falcon, which are among the youngest F-16s in Europe. Altogether this meant NTM16 brought together a lot of modern fighters. It will be difficult to repeat the massive presence of aircraft and crew of this year, because in the coming year the NTM will take place on other airbases with much smaller ramps than the enormous Spanish base at Zaragoza with its two runways and huge aprons. I can assure you that it also meant really long walks for us visitors, which brings us to the public events.

After week one of the exercise two public events were held, the spotters day on Friday and an airshow on Saturday. More than 1500 enthusiasts from around the world attended the spotters day on Friday. Besides the many Europeans that attended the event, this Tiger Meet also attracted visitors from Canada, China, Russia to name a few. We were able to observe and photograph the two waves planned for the day, including takeoffs, landings and taxiways, as well as on the southern ramp where all the aircraft of the various tiger units were parked.

The airshow on Saturday had an attendance of about 40,000 people and consisted of the Spanish Air Force’s display teams, Typhoon and Hornet solo demonstrations, the Belgian Air Force F-16 Demo and a display by a pair of French Navy Rafale Ms from 11 Flottille.

The second week of the NTM the exercises continued until Thursday evening. As on all editions, the NATO Tiger Association concluded the event by awarding the members who had distinguished themselves during the two weeks:

Silver Tiger Trophy winner: 31 Smd, Belgian Air Force
Best Looking Tiger uniform: 21° Gruppo, Italian Air Force
Best Looking Tiger Aircraft: 221 LtBvr, Czech Air Force, with their Mi-35 "Alien Tiger"
Best Skit: 338 Skv, Royal Norwegian Air Force
Best Flying ops: 11F, French Navy
Tiger Games: 31 Smd, Belgian Air Force
Special Tiger Spirit award: 12° Gruppo, Italian Air Force

Next year's edition of the NTM will be held at the air base of Landivisiau, home of the 11 Flottille of the French navy.

Ala 15 (SpAF) BA Zaragoza EF-18A+/B+ Hormet (6x)
142 Esc (SpAF) Albacete EF2000 Typhoon (6x)
21° Gruppo (ItAF) Grazzanise AB-212ICO (2x)
31 smd (BAF) Kleine Brogel F-16A/B MLU Fighting Falcon (8x)
TaktLwG 74 (GAF) Neuburg EF2000 Typhoon (8x)
11F (FN) BAN Landiviseau Rafale M (6x)
ECE 01/30 (FAF) BA 118 Mont-de-Marsan Mirage 2000D (4x)
335 Mira (HAF) Araxos F-16C/D Block 52+ Fighting Falcon (4x)
313 sqn (RNLAF) Vlb. Volkel F-16A/B MLU Fighting Falcon (2x) - first week only
59/1 Sqn (HuAF) Kecskemét JAS-39C/D Gripen (5x)
338 Skv (RNoAF) MAS Ørland F-16A/B MLU Fighting Falcon (6x)
1 AEW&CS (NATO) MOB Geilenkirchen E-3A Sentry (2x)
6 ELT (PoAF) Poznan-Krzesiny AB F-16C/D Block 52 Fighting Falcon (6x)
211 TL (CzAF) Cáslav AFB JAS-39C/D Gripen (4x)
221 LtBVr (CzAF) Námest Mi-24 Hind (2x), Mi-17 Hip (1x)
Staffel 11 (ChAF) Meiringen F/A-18C/D Hornet (5x)
192 Filo (TuAF) Balikesir AB F-16C/D Block 50 Fighting Falcon (5x)
230 Sqn (RAF) RAF Benson Puma HC.2 (1x)
1 JTS (AAF) Flh. Vogler Observers only
12° Gruppo (ItAF) Gioia del Colle EF2000 Typhoon (6x)
TaktLwG 51 (GAF)Schleswig-Jagel Tornado ECR (2x)
Esq 301 (PoAF) BA5 Monte Real F-16A/B MLU Fighting Falcon (2x)
GFD (Civil) Hohn Learjet (1x)
4F (FN) BAN Lann-Bihoué E-2C Hawkeye (2x)
3 RHC (ALAT) BA d'Étain-Rouvres SA 342 M Gazelle (2x)
NATO Tiger Meet 2016 patch
The NATO Tiger Meet 2016 was hosted by the 15 Ala at BA Zaragoza, Spain.
Ala 15 F/A-18A+ Hornet carrying the NTM 2016 markings
Ala 15's other F/A-18A+ Hornet with Tiger markings of 2010
Spain's other tiger unit, the 142 Esc of Ala 14 at Albacete returned with the Typhoon
Spain's other tiger unit, the 142 Esc of Ala 14 at Albacete returned with the Typhoon
The FliegerStaffel 11 F-18C Hornet J-5011 returned with new tiger art
Close-up of the 2016 tailart on the F-18C Hornet J-5011
French Air Force ECE 01/30 Mirage 2000D NTM 2016 paintjob
Czech Air Force JAS 39C Gripen with tiger markings
Actually a Puma disguised in tiger stripes, the 1st Squadron of the Hungarian Air Force 59th TFW is also member of the NTA
11F Rafale of the French Navy
Belgian 31 Sqn F-16AM in tiger livery
2016 marks 65 years of the Belgian Air Force's 31 Tiger Squadron
Polish Air Force 6.ELT F-16C Block 52+ with tiger markings
Hellenic Air Force 335 Mira F-16C Block 52M with tiger conformal and underwing tanks
Royal Norwegian Air Force 338 Skv again attended with their F-16BM 692 Tiger
Turkish Air Force 192 Filo F-16C Block 50 Tiger special
The TaktLwG 74 EF2000 backseater actually thinks and acts like a tiger
Visiting TaktLwG 51 Tornado ECR crew close-up showing their tiger helmets
RAF 230 Squadron participated once again with its Puma helicopter, nowadays upgraded to HC.2 standard
Tiger helicopter flight included the 3 RHC Gazelle of the French Army Aviation
RAF Puma HC.2 with the 3 RHC Gazelle in tiger colors in the background
Italian Air Force AB-212 of 21° Gruppo with tiger markings
French Air Force ECE 01/30 Tiger running off with the Spanish flag
Spanish Air Force 142 Esc Eurofighter Typhoon take-off
Czech Air Force JAS 39C Gripen take-off
Belgian Air Force 31 Smaldeel F-16AM take-off
Aeronavale  11 Flottille Rafale M take-off
Aeronavale  11 Flottille Rafale M tiger special on take-off
Polish Air Force 6.ELT F-16C Block 52+ take-off
German Air Force TaktLwG 74 EF2000 take-off
Turkish Air Force 192 Filo F-16C Block 50 take-off
Aeronavale 4 Flottille participated with the E-2C Hawkeye, one example even received tiger markings for the event
Aeronavale 4 Flottille other E-2C Hawkeye that attended
Close-up of the tailart on the E-2C Hawkeye with NTM markings
Close-up of the NTM 2016 markings on the Ala 15 F/A-18A+ Hornet's tail
Close-up of 142 Esc Tiger tail on its Typhoon
Belgian Air Force 31 Sqn F-16AM tiger tailart
French Air Force ECE 01/30 Mirage 2000D NTM 2016 special
335 Mira F-16C tiger special
Another look at the Swiss Air Force's Staffel 11 F-18C Hornet tiger tail
French Navy 11F Rafale tiger special
TaktLwG 51 Tornado ECR on static display during the weekend's public events
TaktLwG 74 EF2000 Tiger special
TaktLwG 74 EF2000 tigereye inlet covers
3 RHC Gazelle in tiger livery
3 RHC Gazelle in tiger livery
RAF 230 Sqn Puma HC.2
Italian Air Force AB-212 of 21° Gruppo with tiger face
Italian Air Force 21° Gruppo AB-212 tiger
Italian Air Force 21° Gruppo's other AB-212 with tiger markings
Czech Air Force 221.ltbvr Mi-17 'Hip'
Czech Air Force 221.ltbvr Mi-35 'Hind' 3366 Alien Tiger
Czech Air Force 221.ltbvr Mi-35 'Hind' 3370 Kost'a
NATO 1 AEW&C Squadron E-3A Sentry from Geilenkirchen
Belgian Air Force C-130H Hercules supporting the detachment
Spanish Air Force C-212-100 of 54 Grupo could be spotted as well at Zaragoza
Flighthelmet that's a perfect fit for any Tiger pilot

Report and photos by Giovanni Mattioli ( view portfolio )

First Published: 7 June 2016
Last Modified: 7 June 2016

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