PHOTO FEATURE | 43 IMAGES
Tactical Weapon Meet 2017 was a massive air combat exercise held between 5 to 16 June 2017 at the Florennes Air Base in Belgium. Participants of the event include many F-16A/B MLUs from the Belgium Air Force, 3 Eurofigher Typhoons each from both Italian and Spanish Air Forces, 3 MIG-29 Fulcrums from the Polish Air Force, 2 Hawk Trainers from the Royal Air Force acting as aggressors and 2 F-4E Phantoms from the Hellenic Air Force.
A spotter’s day was scheduled on the 15th June in conjunction to the celebrations of Belgium Air Force’s 1st Squadron “Stingers” 100th anniversary. Conversations with some of the locals revealed that the Belgian Air Force are well known for their hospitality and openness to aviation enthusiasts, and this spotters day proved to be a great event. Parking and access to the site was well managed. We were in the spotters area within 20 minutes of parking. Above and beyond the participants of the Tactical Weapon Meet, there were also special appearances by 2 French Air Force Mirage 2000s in special livery, a Hellenic Air Force C-130 Hercules, and many Belgian Air Force assents from an Alpha Jet in splinter camouflage, A-109 Agusta helicopter that flew a few low passes above the crowd, some special livery F-16s from Kleine Brogel Air Base and a pair of Marchetti SF.260.
With good weather, great atmosphere and fantastic hosts, this visit to the Tactical Weapon Meet 2017 spotters day at Florennes Air Base was an incredible experience!
1. Florennes Air Base in Belgium. Picture from Google Map.
2. 1st Squadron “Stinger” 100th Anniversary special livery F-16A MLU (FA-132).
3. Tail Fin details of the 100th Anniversary F-16A MLU of 1st Squadron “Stingers” as it taxis past a line of spotters.
4. Belgium Air Force F-16A MLU (FA-132) of 1st Squadron “Stingers” in flight.
5. Crew of the Royal Air Force Hawk T1 (XX285) in 100 Years livery waves as it taxis past. Aircraft is from the RAF No 100 Squadron also celebrating it’s centenary.
6. Providing Aggressor Support are a pair of Royal Air Force Hawk T1s. Here, aircraft XX285 from No 100 Squadron flies past showing off it’s 100 Years livery.
7. Close up of the cockpit of Royal Air Force Hawk T1 (XX346) from No 100 Squadron.
8. Polish Air Force MIG-29 Fulcrum (89) from its 1st Tactical Squadron taxis below the runway to take off.
9. Polish Air Force MIG-29 Fulcrum (40) from its 1st Tactical Squadron takes off with full afterburners.
10. Polish Air Force MIG-29 Fulcrum (40) shows off it’s topside artwork
11. Polish Air Force MIG-29 Fulcrum (40) make a low pass over the airfield.
12. Polish Air Force MIG-29 Fulcrum (40) pulls up after low pass.
13. Curly exhaust smoke as the Polish Air Force MIG-29 Fulcrum prepares to land.
14. Belgian Air Force 17 Squadron Agusta A109BA (H45) make a dramatic exit from the event with a low pass over the crowd.
15. Special Appearance 1 – Belgian Air Force F-16B MLU (FB-24) with 30 Years of Operation Conversion Unit tailflash.
16. Special Appearance 2 – Belgian Air Force F-16A MLU (FA-70) of 349 Squadron with 75 Years tailflash.
17. Special Appearance 3 – Belgian Air Force Alpha Jet in Splinter Camouflage.
18. Special Appearance 4 – French Air Force Mirage 2000-5F (2-EJ) from EC 1/2 “Storks” with special livery in honor of Capt George Gutnemer.
19. French Air Force Mirage 2000-5F (2-EJ) from EC 1/2 “Storks” with special livery in honor of Capt George Gutnemer which flew with the squadron in 1917.
20. All lenses were trained on the 2 French Air Force Mirage 2000s as they made multiple low passes.
21. Special Appearance 4 – 2nd of the pair of French Air Force Mirage 2000-5F from EC 1/2 “Storks”. This is aircraft 2-ET
22. Close up of the French Air Force Mirage 2000-5F (2-EJ) from EC 1/2 “Storks”.
23. Special Appearance 5 – Hellenic Air Force C-130H Hercules (752) from 356MTM.
24. Special Appearance 6 – One of the pair Belgian Air Force SF.260 (ST-04)
25. Pilots of the Belgian Air Force SF.260 (ST-48) waves crowd as it performs a low pass.
26. Taking a break during one of the lull periods at noon.
27. A Pair of Spanish Air Force Eurofighter Typhoons of Ala 11 taxis for take off
28. Crowd gathers in anticipation as an Italian Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon (4-6) from 4° Stormo started moving from the parking area.
29. Pilot of the Italian Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon from 4° Stormo waves to the line of photographers as he taxis pass.
30. Italian Air Force 4° Stormo Eurofighter Typhoon (4-21) takes off with afterburners.
31. Spanish Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon (11-28) from Ala 11
32. Spanish Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon (11-28) from Ala 11.
33. A pair of Spanish Air Force Eurofighter Typhoons (11-28 and 11-12) from Ala 11 breaks formation as it over flies the airfield.
34. Belgian Air Force F-16A/B MLUs (FA-109 and FB-22) takes off together in one of the afternoon sessions.
35. Belgian Air Force F-16A MLU (FA-133) glints of the sun as it pulls up after a low pass.
36. Belgian Air Force F-16B MLU (FB-22) with full afterburners.
37. Crew of the Belgian Air Force F-16B MLU (FB-22) salutes as they did a low fly past.
38. The pair of Hellenic Air Force F-4E Phantom IIs from 338 Mira prepares for take off.
39. Hellenic Air Force F-4E Phantom II (01512) from 338 Mira
40. The pair of Hellenic Air Force F-4E Phantom IIs (01512 and 01534) from 338 Mira prepares performs a formation fly pass.
41. Crew of the Hellenic Air Force F-4E Phantom II takes a welfie with the photographers.
42. 4 ship formation of 2 Eurofighter Typhoons and 2 F-4E Phantom IIs breaks as it flies pass the airfield.
43. Belgium Air Force 1 Squadron “Stingers” centenary book was given to every visitor to this incredible event. Tactical Weapon Meet patch and many others are available for purchase at the site.