Tag Archives: Leeuwarden

Exercise Trial Embow XV

Between 28 September and 15 October 2015 the exercise Trial Embow 2015 was held at the range of WTD 91 in Meppen (Germany). This item gives some insight into the participants and purpose of the exercise.

The Belgian armed forces participated with their brand new NH90 helicopter.
The Belgian armed forces participated with their brand new NH90 helicopter.

The purpose of the Embow excercises is to familiarize aircrew with the self-defence tools that they carry against ground-based systems. The main aim of Embow is to allow aviators to test, under live and monitored conditions, the capacity of their aircraft to evade infrared-guided surface-to-air missiles, from basic Manpads to more advanced surface to air short-range systems (SHORADS). As a cherry on the cake, the Embow trials are always performed in highly instrumented areas so that the participants can take a close look at the actual efficiency of the systems they field. Any noticed discrepancy is then funneled, in a second move, back to the industry for updating and improvements.

A Danish C-130J deploys flares over the Meppen Range
A Danish C-130J deploys flares over the Meppen Range

For this year’s edition the WTD 91 range was chosen as the location. The range is the largest instrumented range in Europe and with dimensions of 7 by 31 kilometers and a reserved airspace up to an altitude of 5000 feet. Next to that the facility has its own airfield and helipad, which was very useful for the helicopters participating in the exercise.

Meppen Range (EDR34) in Northern Germany, as shown on aviation charts
Meppen Range (EDR34) in Northern Germany, as shown on aviation charts
Down on the Range

During a typical sortie, the range was booked for the duration of 30 minutes. Sorties were only flown by single aircraft, as the whole mission had to be measured. The aircraft would then fly a pre-determined set of patterns (radials) upon which a flare would be dropped after a count down from the ground station. These missions were also flown with different types of flares per aircraft type. Evaluation of the measurements would then show if the flare behaved in the same way as specified by the producer.

A very rare participant was this Spanish Chinook
This Spanish Chinook was a very rare participant, something not very often seen in this part of Europe
At the airfield

Trial Embow XV saw participation from all over Europe with various types of aircraft, ranging from a Belgian A.109 Helicopter to the British C-17 transport aircraft. Particpating countries were Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom.

A French Mirage 2000 banks low over the range
A French Mirage 2000 banks low over the range

Most helicopters were temporarily based at Meppen’s airfield, whereas most fighters operated from Nörvenich and Leeuwarden airbases. Most transport aircraft flew directly form their homebase. Upon arrival at Meppen (EDR-34), they would change their normal radiocallsign to a callsign ranging from Outlaw01 to Outlaw10.

A C-27J Spartan from the Italian Air Force's RSV test unit was testing some new defensive systems.
A C-27J Spartan from the Italian Air Force’s RSV test unit was testing some new defensive systems.

 

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Jet Noise over Twenthe

On the 5th of July 2015, old memories were relived when the Twente region woke up to the sound of Jet Noise.

The reason was, that on this day, the Good Cause Rally was held at the former Twenthe Airbase. During this event, children with a serious disease and their family, are invited to spend a day where they do not have to worry about their disease. Amongst others, they are taken for a drive in various fast cars, along the runway of the former airbase.

This year’s event was opened with some fly-pasts from 2 Hawker Hunters belonging to the Dutch Hawker Hunter Foundation based at Leeuwarden Airbase. To make it extra special, sponsors could bid on a flight in the 2-seat Hawker Hunter T.8C. The minimum bid had to be €7,000.- to cover the costs.

Hawker Hunter F.6A N-294
Hawker Hunter F.6A N-294

Apparently somebody made a good bid, as both aircraft showed up around 10.15 in the morning. In the next 15 minutes, they treated the audience to the sight and sound of this classic fighter. The Typical sound of the Rolls Royce Avon 207 turbine brought a smile to many faces.

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Former RNLAF AB.412SP heading for Peru

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On the 26th of May the first former RNLAF AB.412SP destined for the Peruvian Navy was delivered from Liège to Gilze-Rijen Airbase in the Netherlands.

After 303 Squadron at Leeuwarden was de-activated in January because of budgetcuts, the 3 AB.412s were flown to the Agusta-Westland facility at Liège Airport. Over there the helicopters were completely refurbished and painted in the colours of the Peruvian Navy.

On the 26th of May 2015 the former R-03 was the first of the 3 helicopters that was flown to Gilze-Rijen. The helicopter had a sticker with the old serial on the door. This was due to Dutch legislation, as the helicopter was formally still part of the RNLAF; it had not been handed over to Peru yet.

Once all 3 AB.412s have arrived and have been tested, they will then be prepared for shipment to Peru. At this stage it is not know whether this will be done by sea or by air.

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