Exercise reports

Combined Air Operations

By Koen Hartkamp | July 2004
Combined Air Operations exercise.

On the 20th of July, the Combined Air Operations exercise (COMAO) was held at Kleine Brogel Air Base, Belgium. The exercise was combined with a Spotters'Day in which many of the exercise visitors took part. The participating aircraft, except for the F-16's based at Kleine Brogel, were all displayed at the flightline, right in front of the public and flew the COMAO mission in the afternoon. The Kleine Brogel based F-16's which were participating were all parked on the other side of the field. When they returned from their missions, they all taxied past the public before returning to their parking spots. Many of the aircraft of the Spotters'Day had already arrived on the 19th of July, but others like the French Mirages, the Danish F-16 and the Florennes based Belgian F-16's arrived in the morning of the Spotters'Day.

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Besides many Belgian aircraft several very interesting aircraft were participating in the Spotters'Day. The biggest highlights of this year were all coming from Eastern-Europe. The Lithuanian Air Force participated with an Aero L-39 and an Antonov 26 Foto An-26 and the Czech Air Force showed up with two MiG-21 aircraft. Foto's MiG-21's The MiG-21's were supposed to take part in the COMAO, but one of the MiG's experienced an engine flame-out during it's take-off roll and therefore they had to abort their take-off.




The French Air Force send a very strong delegation, with 4 Mirage 2000's, a Mirage F1 (with D-Day stripes), an Alpha Jet and even a Mirage IV. The Mirage IV aircraft are supposed to be withdrawn from service in 2005 and very few of them are still airworthy.

Mirage 4

Mirage F1

Mirage 2000

The Belgian Air Force showed up with more than 20 different F-16's, all of them flying several missions during the day. Except for the Embraer transport aircraft and the Alouette 3 helicopter, all types that the Belgian Air Force uses were present at Kleine Brogel.

Alpha Jet





Four specially coloured F-16's were present at the Spotters'Day, one Danish F-16 and 3 Belgians. The Spotters'Day was the first public appearance for the F-16 with the Tiger colors.





Besides the special coloured F-16's there was also a German Navy Tornado in special colours for the celebration of 90 years Marineflieger.



Several expected aircraft could not visit the Spotters'Day like the United States Air Force F-15's and A10's, the Singapore Air Force A-4's and neither did the Algerian Air Force MiG-29's show up. Although there weren't Algerian MiG's, one of their pilots was walking around at the Spotters'Day. The organisation provided some very nice spots for the spotters to make photo's. The taxiing aircraft were sometimes less than 10 meters away from the crowd.

Everyone could walk past the whole flightline and on both ends there was a special area between the taxiway and the runway. The first spot was at the point where all the aircraft turned of the runway and taxied to the flightline.

Alpha Jet


The departing aircraft were all airborne at this point, but due to the rain in the morning and the low overcast in the afternoon, several aircraft flew already in the clouds when they passed the spotters standing at that point. The other point was at the other end of the flightline and that was exactly the point where many aircraft got airborne.

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