UK RAF deploys six Tornado GR4 aircraft for Frisian Flag exercise in Netherlands


The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) has deployed six Tornado GR4 fighter aircraft for a two-week-long exercise, Frisian Flag, in the Netherlands.

The exercise was conducted at Leeuwarden Air Base to train multiple countries for handling conflict situations.

The Tornado aircraft from the RAF’s 31 Squadron, 'The Goldstars', landed at the Royal Netherlands Air Force's (RNLAF) Leeuwarden Air Base and were joined by Typhoons, Mirage and F16 aircraft from other Nato nations as part of the exercise.

RAF contingent OC 31 Squadron and the detachment wing commander Matt Bressani said: “Working with Nato countries helps us to better understand our own strengths and weaknesses by testing each other’s defences. With the Tornado GR4 going out of service in a few years’ time, this is an ideal opportunity to train our crews for their future beyond this air frame.

"Working with Nato countries helps us to better understand our own strengths and weaknesses by testing each other’s defences."

“The time working alongside our allies means that we will expose both air and ground crews to working closely with Typhoon deployments from our partner nations, allowing our boys and girls to get up close to an aircraft they could be working on themselves in the near future.

“The aircrew will get to see German, Dutch and Portuguese Typhoons in action and see how they work alongside the American and French aircraft too.”

The exercise also witnessed participation from 1,100 personnel, according to a statement posted on the RAF website.

During the exercise, Tornado GR4s simulated the Red Force Element, effectively playing the part of the enemy that will attempt to breach the defences of opposing forces from the US, France, Germany, Portugal, Belgium and the Netherlands.


Image: The Tornado aircraft from the RAF’s 31Squadron were joined by Typhoons, Mirage and F16 aircraft. Photo: © MOD Crown Copyright.