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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.

FF2018 10

But first to arrive at Leeuwarden, like last year, was the US contingent. The so called "Theatre Security Package" arrived in two groups during March and participated in Frisian Flag 2018 later. It consisted of 123rd FS/142nd FW Oregon ANG, like this 85-0094, and....

FF2018 09

...the other half of the pack was formed by MA-coded Eagles from 132st FS/104th FW, as is illustrated by 86-158 here.

FF2018 07

The Polish F-16s are amongst the most modern Vipers flying in Europe, and therefore very welcome guests of any exercise. Their grey/grey camouflage and large conformal fuel tanks make them look pretty good.

FF2018 14

But the good old MiG-29 obviously was even more welcomed at Leeuwarden. Overcast weather nothwithstanding, it cannot be left out of our FF2018 report!

FF2018 06

The Mirage 2000D is the ultimate strike development of the Mirage-family of fighters. This aircraft carried an interesting load of pods and weapons under its centerline during arrival at Leeuwareden.

FF2018 03

SPA162 celebrates its 100th anniversary underlining its tiger heiress with this Rafale C, which arrived with three other Mont-de-Marsan inmates.

FF2018 04

A lot of equipment and personnel is required to deploy large numbers of aircraft to an international exercise. The Spanish detachment enlightened the aviation scene with the smoky arrival of this KC-130H Hercules tanker-transport.

FF2018 02

A five-ship of Spanish EF-18M Hornets arrived late Friday afternoon from Zaragoza. They overflew the base in this neat formation before breaking and banking away for landing.

FF2018 01

With the Spanish flag draped on his dashboard, the leader of the Hornet five-ship comes in to land as the last arriving pack before the start of the exercise.

FF2018 13

Hornet 15-16 banks hard to line up for Leeuwarden’s 23 runway. During this landing with strong crosswinds, the EF-18M's speed was too high, and brakes became overheated after touchdown, causing a fire.

FF2018 12

Dual 15-72 in glorious weather.

FF2018 08

Lastly, of course, the Royal Netherlands Air Force were there in strength. Formerly at Tucson Intl, Arizona and still marked with the 162nd FW tail band is F-16BM J-882.