This year the Nato Tiger Meet celebrates her 40th Tiger Meet. Host is Recce Wing 51 "Immelmann" at Schleswig-Jagel Air Base in the northern part of Germany (near the German/Danish border). This is the 51st Recce Wing's first ever Tiger Meet, and the first NTM in 20 years to be held in northern Germany.
By Frits Jongerman
In July 1961 the first Tiger Meet was held at RAF Woodbridge . It came that the French Defence Minister M. Pierre Messner wished in 1960 to strengthen the ties between the French and the American Armed Forces. So the first Tiger Meet took place in 1961 with an invitation by the Americans of the 79 TFS and the British of the 74 (F) Sqn to the French SPA 162 of EC 1/12. The squadrons performed missions of interception and solo demos together. At the end they had a fly by of the three squadrons together with their F-100 Super Sabre (79 TFS), Lightning F.1 (74 Sqn) and Super Mysteres (EC 1/12). Due to the success of this meeting it was easy to gather eight squadrons in Woodbridge, together with the already present aircraft from Belgium, Germany and Canada. The first Tiger Meet was only one day. Nowadays it's one week.
The goals of the tiger meet were/are:
1. Promote solidarity between NATO members
2. Create and maintain strong professional and personal ties between participating crews and
3. Work together for NATO's military goals.
For an aircraft enthusiastic the Tiger Meets is extra special to visit because the aircraft are traditionally painted in special tiger colours during this meetings. Every Tiger Meet will bring very nice painted aircraft, but also cars and other things (just name it and you can paint it with tiger colours).
A lot has changed since 1961; from the cold war to the war against terrorism. Since the last couple of years former eastern bloc countries participate. After a European Tiger Meet there is also and Tiger Meet in the USA/Canada. Of course, most of the American/Canadian units are also member of the (European) Tiger Meet; like 439 Sqn and 79 FS. 79 FS is one of the first members of the originally Tiger Meet, held at Woodbridge in 1961.
|1 Sqn 'Sliac'||Slovak AF||MiG-29 Fulcrum|
|VP-8||United States Navy||P-3C Orion|
|11 F||French Navy||Super Etendard|
|Flst. 11||Swiss Air Force||FA-18C/D Hornet|
|31 Smaldeel (10 Wg)||Belgian Air Force||F-16AM/BM|
|37 BS||Air Combat Command||B-1B ('EL')|
|41st Fighter Sqn||Czech Air Force||MiG-21|
|79th Fighter Sqn||Air Combat Command||F-16CJ/DJ ('SW')|
|EC 01.012||French Air Force||Mirage 2000B/C|
|120th Fighter Sqn||Colorade ANG||F-16C|
|141 ARS||New Jersey ANG||KC-135E|
|Esc. 142 (Ala 14)||Spanish Air Force||Mirage F.1M|
|155 Gr (50 Stormo)||Italian Air Force||Tornado ECR|
|192 Filo/9 AJU||Turkish Air Force||F-16C/D|
|230 Sqn||Royal Air Force||Puma HC.1|
|231 Heli Sqn*||Czech Air Force||Mil Mi-24 Hind|
|301 Esq||Portuguese Air Force||Alpha Jet|
|313 Sqn||Royal Netherlands AF||F-16AM/BM|
|321 Staffel/JBG-32||German Air Force||Tornado ECR|
|338 Skv.||Royal Norwegian AF||F-16AM/BM|
|391st FS||Air Combat Command||F-15E ('MO')|
|393rd BSq||Air Combat Command||B-2 ( 'WM')|
|439 Sqn||Royal Canadian Air Force||CT-133/CH-146|
|494 FS||United States AF Europe||F-15E ('LN')|
|No. 814 NAS||Royal Navy||Merlin|
|EC 05.330||French Air Force||Mirage 2000-5F|
|AG 51 (512 Sqn)||German Air Force||Tornado IDS|
(* former 331 Sqn; Operates since January 1st 2004 as 231 Helicopter Squadron)