Undoubtedly one of the most eagerly anticipated events for European aviation enthusiasts this year was the Operational Integration Exercise (OIE 2007) held at Kleine Brogel (KB), Belgium.

This superb event was organised by the based F-16 Operational Conversion Unit (OCU) and provided the opportunity to undertake Combined Air Operations (COMAO) by the visiting air forces, thus providing a valuable training exercise normally only offered by the US based 'Flag' exercises or TLP.

The COMAO involved air attacks against a fictitious enemy operating from bases in Northern Germany; Wittmund, Nordholz and Diepholz were targeted by aircraft at low and medium levels. After refuelling in the North Sea Dutch Training areas from single examples of 101 Sqn VC10 and USAF KC-135R (operated by the 100th ARW at RAF Mildenhall) the fighters headed to their targets via one of four corridors created for the exercise under the control of a NATO E-3 AWACS. Red Force F-16s, operating from Florennes and Leeuwarden, were tasked to intercept the inbound attack force.

The first wave of jets to depart KB for the low level attack included A-7s, F-4s and MB-339s, escorted by four Italian F-16s and two Belgian F-16s.



The second wave followed close behind; the medium level attack comprised six Rafales and 16 F-16s in various configurations from the visiting Air Forces, closely followed by six Luftwaffe Tornadoes.



From the enthusiasts perspective there were some very interesting aircraft at the event and the close flight line access allowed for very pleasing photographic opportunities. An entry fee of £13 (20 Euros) and the well thought out positioning of aircraft resulted in an event offering excellent value for money.

No less than six Rafales were present, four Aeronavale Ms of 12F and two Armee de l’Air Bs from EC7. The Czech AF sent three Gripens, welcome participants indeed, but for many the star of the event was the rare SF-5B from Ala 23.



Adding to the number of fifth generation fighters at KB was RAF Typhoon F.2 ZJ910 BV, the newest aircraft for Coningsby’s 29(R) Sqn - a last minute replacement for an unserviceable aircraft. Other RAF participants included XV105, the black tailed anniversary schemed VC10 and a pair of 230 Sqn Pumas, one of which took part in a Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) demonstration escorted by two Belgian A.109s with F-16s flying top cover and Czech L-159s performing an airfield attack.

Other interesting visitors comprised considerable contribution from the Hellenic AF in the form of pairs of A-7s, F-16s and F-4s. Portuguese F-16s were joined by four Italian F-16 ADF's from 23 Gruppo, presenting the first sighting of these types for many present. Other F-16s from Turkey and Denmark were present along with plenty of the 'home team' F-16AM & BM’s from the Belgian Air Component.



Participation List

Belgian Air Component
Belgische Luchtmacht

A-79 Alouette II
AT-10 Alpha Jet
CE-03 ERJ145LR
CM-02 Da20
FA-69 F-16AM
FA-98 F-16AM
FA-99 F-16AM
FA-100 F-16AM
FA-101 F-16AM
FA-107 FS F-16AM
FA-111 F-16AM
FA-118 F-16AM
FA-123 F-16AM
FA-131 F-16AM
FA-132 F-16AM
FA-133 FS F-16AM
FA-134 F-16AM
FA-136 F-16AM
FB-04 F-16BM
FB-09 F-16BM
FB-10 F-16BM
FB-15 F-16BM
FB-18 F-16BM
FB-20 F-16BM
FB-23 F-16BM
FB-24 F-16BM
H-22 A109
H-26 A109
H-30 A109
LB-06 L-21B Super Cub
M-1 Alouette III
MT-35 CM170R
RS-02 Sea King
ST-35 SF260M
N60LT PC-7
OO-LUK S-4 Stampe
OO-MMM BN-2B


The following aircraft were reported to be in the maintenance hangar:

FA-82 F-16AM / FA-110 F-16AM / FA-119 F-16AM / FB-01 F-16BM
4x Extra 300s Jordanian Falcons


Czech AF
Vzdušné síly armády České republiky

9240 JAS-39C
9244 JAS-39C
9819 JAS-39D
6048 L-159A ALCA
6053 L-159A ALCA
6054 L-159A ALCA

Danish AF
Kongelige Danske Flyvevåben

E-599 F-16AM
E-605 F-16AM
E-608 F-16AM
E-611 F-16AM

French AF
Armée de l'Air

329/4-BH Mirage 2000N "FAF4211" (Fly Through)
349/4-BM Mirage 2000N
104/7-HH Rafale C
318/7-HM Rafale B
E23/314-UG Alpha Jet
655/33-NG Mirage F1CR (Fly Through) "FAF7830A"
647/33-NF Mirage F1CR (Fly Through) ID not confirmed “FAF7830B”

French Navy
Marine Nationale

2 Rafale M
3 Rafale M
5 Rafale M
9 Rafale M

German AF
Luftwaffe

38+54 F-4F
45+04 Tornado IDS
45+28 Tornado IDS
45+57 Tornado IDS
45+91 Tornado IDS
45+92 Tornado IDS
46+02 Tornado IDS

Hellenic AF
Elliniki Polemiki Aeroporia

113 F-16C
119 F-16C
01512 F-4E
01525 F-4E
156774 TA-7C (Note incorrectly marked as 160560)
160560 A-7E

Italian AF
Aeronautica Militare Italiana

MM55088/61-160 MB339CD
M55090/61-162 MB339CD
MM7239 F-16A (81-0680)
MM7243 F-16A (82-1014)
MM7245 F-16A (82-1021)
MM7259 F-16A (82-0984)

Royal Netherlands AF
Koninklijke Luchtmacht

S-442 AS532 U2 Cougar "Wildcat formation" Fly through
S-453 AS532 U2 Cougar "Wildcat formation" Fly through

Portuguese AF
Força Aerea Portuguesa

15118 F-16B
15139 F-16BM

Royal Air Force

ZA937 Puma HC.1
ZA939 Puma HC.1
ZJ803/BA Typhoon T.1
ZJ910/BV Typhoon F.2
XV105 VC10 C.1K

Spanish AF
Ejército del Aire

AE.9-010/23-04 SF-5B
T.19B-07/35-25 CN235

Turkish AF
Türk Hava Kuvvetleri

93-0688 F-16C
93-0695 F-16D


Wrecks and Relics

Building 15 (Media)
FX-02 F-104G (Tail from FX-47)
FX-41 F-104G
FX-61 F-104G

Officers Mess

FX-86 F-104G
FU-66 F-84F
FS-17 F-84E



With thanks to John Higgins for collating the information from various internet sources.

 

The Editor would like to thank Peter Dewael and his colleagues at Media Relations for their kind assistance and hospitality. Full credit also to the personnel responsible for organising such an extraordinary event and the Belgian Air Component are to be congratulated for allowing the public such close access to aircraft during a busy exercise.


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© On Target Aviation 2008