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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.

The first edition of 2017 saw an interesting line-up of mainly southern European countries. The Italian air force sent two AMX and four Eurofighter Typhoons to participate in the exercise.

Rare participants were AV-8B Harrier IIs of the Italian navy. The aircraft will soldier on until they will be replaced by the F-35B STOVL variant.

The Armee de l’Air sent large contingent to the first TLP of 2017. One of the most numerous types of the was the Mirage 2000N, one of which is pictured here.

Also, three Rafale Bs were provided combat-proven, state-of-the-art capabilities to the exercise.

The Aeronavale (French naval aviation) sent fighters and an airborne early warning aircraft to Spain, seen here is an E-2C Hawkeye, which is usually embarked on board of its carrier Charles de Gaulle.


Greece is a loyal participant of TLP exercises, sending its latest combat aircraft like, this F-16D with conformal fuel tanks (CFT’s).

Electronic warfare is fought on modern battlefields. A dedicated aircraft for this role is this Falcon 20 operated by the Spanish Air Force.