NATO Tiger Meet 2002
by J. Barata

Click on thumbnails to enlarge images

Go Here for Detail Shots

The "NATO Tiger Meet 2002" was held at Air Base Nr. 11, Beja, between 28 June and 9 July 2002.
This was the third time that Portugal hosted the NATO Tiger Meet. In 1987 Air Base Nr. 6, Montijo, hosted the first meet of NATO Squadrons bearing the Tiger as a symbol. A second meeting took place in 1996 at Air Base Nr. 11, Beja, new home of the 301 Squadron since 1993. In both occasions The NATO Tiger Meet was definitely associated with the commemorations of the Portuguese Air Force day.
The 2002 event followed the same rule. Taking place at the same timeframe in which the Portuguese Air Force was commemorating its fiftieth Anniversary, and taking advantage of the presence of the Tiger community in Beja, the Air Force also planned a "Daring Eagle" Exercise that presented an excellent challenge and training opportunity for all the participants.
The Tiger Meet 2002 had for this reasons a very special meaning to the Portuguese Air Force and added the necessary glitter which an event such as the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary as an independent branch of the Armed Forces represents.

Mirage 2000C - France

This is the Mirage 2000C of EC 1/12 "CAMBRESIS" of the ARMÉE de l'Air Francaise based at BA103 Cambrai-Epinoy.
EC 1/12 it's one of the founding members of the NATO Tiger Association.
The Natural Metal aircraft on the fuselage of the Mirage it's a M.D. 450 "Ouragan".
EC 1/12 won the trophy for the best in flight squadron. They will host the "NATO Tiger Meet 2003".
Unit History
EC 1/12 is composed by three "Escadrilles" which keep the heritage of the First World War traditions of the Air Force.
The Escadrille SPA 89 "Guepes" was formed on March 7th of 1917 at Villacoublay. The Escadrille SPA 162 was formed at Corcieux. Equipped initially with the single seat Nieuport, this Escadrille provided necessary and effective air support, operating in close connection with the 7th Army. Tactical requirements compelled them to move to Manoucourt on March 7th 1918. Claiming then five aerial victories in the course of its operations. On May 1918 it was upgraded to SPAD VII and SPAD XIII, which were in use until 1919, when the Escadrille was deactivated.
On May 1st 1952, both Escadrilles (SPA 89 and SPA 162) were reactivated, and joint to form the actual "Escadron de Chasse 1/12 CAMBRESIS", France's first operational Squadron in jets, stationed at Cambrai-Epinoy. The M.D. 450 "Ouragan" was employed until 1955 when it was replaced by the Mystere IV. On June 1956 they are deployed to Algeria and in 1959 the Squadron receives the Super Mystere B2, which remained operational until 1977 when they received the Mirage F1C for air-to-air missions. This aircraft was used to participate in Operations "Manta" and "Epervier" in Chade, and in Operation "Meteil" in the Gulf. In 1992 they bring the Mirage 2000 RDI for the first time to the Meeting. Since there, they have been involved in missions over Iraq and Ex-Yugoslavia, and took part in operations in Kosovo.
When the first Mirage 2000Cs went into service with EC 1/2 and EC2/2 at BA102 Dijon-Longvic, the radar RDI of the Mirage 2000 was not ready yet. So they were equipped with the RDM. This was an improved version of the Cyrano IV unit of the Mirage F1. I'm sure that you remember some French Mirage 2000Cs with a black radome. Meanwhile, the following Mirage 2000s were delivered with the RDI radar to other units. Today EC 1/2 and EC 2/2 are equipped with Mirage 2000-5F and are the only unit able to use the MATRA MICA active AAM. The radar RDI was never exported. The Mirage 2000s exported to Peru, India, Egypt and the UAE had the RDM unit.
ARMÉE de l'Air Francaise - French Air Force
EC (Escadron de Chasse) - Fighter Squadron
BA (Base Aériene) - Air Base
MD - Marcel Dassault
RDI - Radar Doppler Interception
RDM - Radar Doppler Multifuncions
Tornado ECR - Germany
This is the Tornado ECR of 321 Staffel "Tigers", the first Staffel of Jagdbombergeschwader 32 of the Luftwaffe based at Lechfeld.
The author of the design was Lukas Krach.
Tornado ECR - Germany
Hidding amongst the tiger stripes was this little red dragon, a reference to 322 Staffel "Flying Monsters", the second Staffel of Jagdbombergeschwader 32.
Unit History
The history of 321 Staffel dates back to 1958, when JaBoG 32 begun service with the F-84F at Lechfeld, approximately 50 kilometers west of Munich. The JaBoG flew F-104G Starfighter from 1964 until the first Tornado arrived in 1984.
From the beginning, the first Staffel had its own emblem, a black panther's head on a white background with a red lightning beneath. By 1960 this emblem was no longer being worn, having replaced by the official emblem of the JaBoG 32. In 1977 the Staffel decided to return to an individual patch. A Knight's weapon was worn until 1991, when the Staffel reequipped with the Tornado ECR and opted for a new patch.
The new emblem includes elements of the two previous patches, that is a yellow Tiger's head on a black background enclosed within a shield. The black background symbolizes the night, the red lightning represents the electronic nature of the ECR's role. The panther of the first patch has become a Tiger, which represents speed, courage and willingness in battle.
All German Tornados ECR are based at Lechfeld and their role it's Suppression of Enemy Air Defense (SEAD).
The reconnaissance role of the ECR has been dropped because it was felt that conducting reconnaissance and SEAD roles with one aircraft was virtually impossible.
The equipment was deleted on German aircraft, while it was never fitted on the Italian aircraft. 
ECR - Electronic Combat and Reconnaissance
Staffel - Squadron
Jagdbombergeschwader (JaBoG) - Fighter Bomber Wing
Luftwaffe - German Air Force

On to Page 2