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Annually, the Royal Netherlands Air Force hosts exercise Falcon Leap in connection with the commemoration of Operation Market Garden. During this tragic WW II operation paratroopers were famously deployed to conquer bridges across the main Dutch rivers and liberate cities across the rivers from German occupation.


Starting 17 August 2020, a very special exercise 'Bluewings' was held at Nörvenich in Germany when the Israeli Air Force deployed there for the first time.Bluewings badge

FF2019 01

Frisian Flag has established itself as a yearly must-visit exercise, both for various NATO forces as well as aircraft enthusiasts. In 2019, the Minnesota ANG F-16s formed the US contingent.

ColBraIII 11An invitation by the Colombian air force enabled one of our editors to see first-hand how Brazil and Colombia control their aerial border in close cooperation. Welcome to Leticia, Amazonas department, for a report of exercise COLBRA III. The main goal of COLBRA III was to share intelligence between the two countries to effectively counter border crossing illegal flights and fostering the professional relationships resulting from working against a common enemy. Smuggling of weapons, drugs and endangered products from the Amazon forced the Brazilian air force to begin bi-national exercises with neighbouring countries, starting with Argentina a few years ago.


FF2018 05

French Rafales participated in large numbers this year, with no less than nine aircraft arriving before the start of the exercise. All single seaters came from Mont-de-Marsan and  the duals, like the one seen here, were sent by Saint-Dizier based units.

Frisian Flag 2017 05

Frisian Flag is an exercise held yearly at Leeuwarden Air Base and has become an established fixture for NATO's air forces.

Steadfast Noon 02

Steadfast Noon is NATO’s classified European nuclear strike exercise, which is held annually at a number of bases. During the 2017 edition, Kleine Brogel air base in Belgium was one of these bases.

About four times a year, NATO’s Tactical Leadership Programme (TLP) is held at Albacete-Los Llanos air base in Eastern Spain. This multinational exercise is aimed at providing pilots with real scenario training to lead groups of aircraft on the battlefield. The programme is being exercised for several decades, and has been at Albacete since 2008. Before 2008, the TLP was held at Florennes in Belgium and previously at Jever in Germany. The congested airspace and less favorable weather conditions made the TLP move to Albacete, where pilots can enjoy great training opportunities. Usually, TLP exercise are organized in Jan/Feb, Apr/May, Sep/Oct and Nov/Dec. Several NATO countries, deploy aircraft for about four weeks to Albacete, usually the third and fourth week welcome external assets acting as opponents or Red Forces.

Ample Strike 2016 at Náměšť nad Oslavou

Every other year a very useful but not so well-known exercise is held in Czechia, Ample Strike. In this third edition, Náměšť nad Oslavou was actively involved again hosting some of the 17 participating countries. Of these, Czechia, Germany, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Slovenia and the United States employed aircraft. Aviagraphers share a fence check at Náměšť nad Oslavou.

RF16 2   B 52H banking

Red Flag 16-2, a different angle

We attended the Red Flag 16-2 Mediaday at Nellis AFB, NV. Obviously, our goal was to take photographs of the attending assets and get a look behind the scenes of the infamous exercise. When we underwent the proceedings it dawned on us; the media day is just a routine part of the exercise to cater for the bulk of the many requests they get.

Anatolian Eagle 16-2

The exercise Anatolian Eagle is held four times each year. Each exercise has a dedicated goal and the second one usually involves participation from other countries as well. In any case, the Turkish Air Force always participates in numbers. Aviagraphers reports on the 2016-2 edition.