October 4, 2007 (by Stefaan Ellebaut) - From September 24th through to October 1st, the 31 Tiger squadron participated in the annual NATO Tiger Meet exercise nicknamed 'Arctic Tiger'. The Tigers of 338 Skv hosted this event from their homebase at Orland, Norway.
ARCTIC TIGER 2007 / NATO TIGER MEET 2007 logo
A total of 23 squadrons from 13 nations participated in this years event. This year there was special attention for Joint Operations with Special Forces and 16 helicopters.
No less than 8 F-16 M4's, 17 pilots and 60 crew members of Three-One were stationed at Orland a week before the Tigermeet started. The squadron was present to commemorate their fraternization with the French 1/12 Tiger squadron from Cambrai.
The squadron managed to win the famous Silver Tiger Trophy for the 8th time and has gone where no other Tiger squadron has gone before!
They have already won the Silver Tiger Trophy in 1978, 1984, 1994, 1996, 1997 and 2003. In 2004 there was an ex aequo with the German 321 squadron and because the 31 sqn already took their award home the previous year, the German pilots got to take it home then. Eight victories out of 42 meetings has never been seen in the past. The squadron, one of the co-founders of the annual Tigermeets, thereby confirms their operational capabilities as multirole squadron in an international environment.
The Silver Tiger was donated by the London silversmith, Mappin & Webb, at the request of the director's of the International Air Tattoo, RAF Benevolent Fund in 1977, at the NATO
Tiger Meet held in conjunction with the IAT at RAF Greenham Common. Up until writing of the tiger rules in 1989, the Silver Tiger was awarded by either common concensus of the detachment Commanders, and/or a secret ballot. Since 1989 the Trophy was awarded to the squadron that gathered most points during the Tigermeet. These points can be won during the various social events as well as during flying.
But that is not all... they also went home as Best Operational Squadron and took second place at the Tiger games.
Each day, Three-One flew 2 waves. In the late morning a COMAO or Combined Air Operations and in the afternoon several CAS
(Close Air Support) and DACT (Dissimilar Air Combat Training) were scheduled. The Belgian Tigers had multiple tasks during these COMAOs, such as sweep, Air Interdiction and Slow Mover Protection. The DACT exercises were flown in Shadow Wave and were needed to test other aircraft types (e.g. Rafale, F-18, Mirage and A-7) capabilities in pure air combat.
On Thursday they had a CSAR or Combat Search And Rescue where the 31 Tigers took the lead. On Friday the COMAO involved multiple air-to-air refuelling.
Every evening, as tradition wants it, several social events were planned.
Tuesday was international evening where every participating country lets the other members have a taste of their nation's specialties. Belgian fries always do the trick of course. Friday was the ever amusing skit night, the open doors and formal dinner were held at Saturday, and Sunday was TigerGame day.
Last but not least, KeeBee PR confirms the Nato TigerMeet 2009 will be held at Kleine Brogel AB, home of the Belgian Tigers!