Between May 2nd and 14th, a new edition of the most famous and popular NATO exercises in Europe, the so-called NTM (NATO Tiger Meet), will be held at Beja Air Base (Portugal). . After the previous edition of the Tiger Meet was suspended due to the pandemic, the FAP (Força Aérea Portuguesa) started this traveling NATO aerial exercise again.
The 142nd Squadron of the Air Force’s 14th Wing, a member of NATO Tigers since 1986, will be the unit to represent Spain this year. This squadron, equipped with the European Eurofighter fighter-bombers, will operate from its relatively cramped base in Albacete in NTM 2021. It should be borne in mind that Wing 14 is currently focused on its participation in NATO’s international air police mission in the Baltic Sea, where half a dozen of its Eurofighters and more than a hundred troops will be stationed in Lithuania before May 1.
It is not yet known whether Wing 14 will mark one of its Eurofighters with a special tiger decoration for the event or use the one painted for NTM2017, which took place at the French Air Force Base in Landivisiau. In 2019 it was Wing 15, the Tiger Club’s other air force unit, which took part with its EF-18 at the French Air Force Base Mont-de-Marsan.
10 squadrons from 8 different countries are expected to participate in NTM2021, including a NATO Boeing E-3A Sentry Airborne Early Warning & Control or AEW-C (Airborne Early Warning & Control) aircraft which will be added to the Beja Airbase as fifty aircraft and around 1,000 military personnel. However, given the current situation, they could be lower and even suspended, as was the case twice last year. The external units will be the FAP’s Leonardo EH101 Merlin helicopters from Esquadra 751, which will carry out the SAR (Search And Rescue) and CSAR (Combat Search And Rescue) missions. and a Falcon DA-20 electronic fighter aircraft made by the British company Cobham.
Due to the pandemic, traditional participants of the German Air Force and the Armée de l’Air as well as the French Navale Aviation have fallen, again this year the classic amateur or spotter days and open doors, which brought together thousands of The NTM- Exercise has been organized since 1961. The pioneers of this event were combat units from the United States, France and the United Kingdom, forming a group or association that gradually expanded with other NATO squadrons and even from non-allied countries such as Switzerland. (Julio Maíz Sanz)
Photo: The Eurofighter with tiger decoration, wing 14, in formation with two others from Germany and Italy. (NATO photo).
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