Black Tiger on fire as this German Air Force Tornado leaves Schleswig Airbase with full afterburner to start its mission of the day during the NATO Tiger Meet 2014 (Image © Marcel Burger)

WITH VIDEO: Tigers sharpen claws in Germany

Swiss Air Force Hornet J-5011 with special tiger tails saluting visiting spectators at the Tiger Meet 2014 at Schleswig-Jägel Airbase, Germany (Image © Marcel Burger)
Swiss Air Force Hornet with special tiger tails saluting visiting spectators at the Tiger Meet 2014 at Schleswig Airbase, Germany
(Image © Marcel Burger)

Despite the calender showing 19 June, it’s a gloomy day in northern Germany. It’s perhaps illustrative of the current times of international turmoil. But, at the airbase of Schleswig-Jagel, another sign of the times is visible. French Rafale and German Typhoon fighters share the runway, with Swiss F/A-18C Hornets and Belgian F-16s doing the same. This international cooperation at its best, and it’s a NATO show of force at the same time. This is the NATO Tiger Association’s sharpening its claws during Tiger Meet 2014.

The Czech Air Force's 211 Tactical Air Squadron sent - amongst others - this cool ''tailored'' SAAB JAS 39C Gripen to the  2014 NATO Tiger Meet (Image © Marcel Burger)
The Czech Air Force’s 211 Tactical Air Squadron sent – amongst others – this cool ”tailored” SAAB JAS 39C Gripen to the 2014 NATO Tiger Meet
(Image © Marcel Burger)

For Polish 6. Eskadra Lotnictwa Taktycznego (ELT) from Poznañ and Hungarian 59.1 squadron from Kecskemét, the current Tiger Meet is the first as full members of the Tiger Association and its ‘Tiger, Tiger, Tiger’-credo. The Polish fly the Lockheed Martin F-16C/D block 52, while the Hungarians fly the Saab JAS 39C/D Gripen. Both squadrons have been participating in the Tiger Meet for quite some years. On Monday 16 June, their full membership was announced.

Black is beautiful on this special tiger French Air Force Mirage 2000-5F. Hard to be humble indeed. (Image © Marcel Burger)
Black is beautiful on this special tiger French Air Force Mirage 2000-5F. Hard to be humble indeed.
(Image © Marcel Burger)

The sight at Schlewig-Jagel was one that seemed futuristic 15 years ago: 3th, 4th and 4.5th generation fighter aircraft sharing the runway. In the past Rafale and Typhoon battled out their battles on the international defence market, now they fly together with the same cooperative purpose. As German Typhoons lift off, they immediately rocket straight into the vertical, with afterburner flames lighting up the gloom. French Dassault Rafales follow their lead.

Saab Gripens from the Czech Republic also take off for an dissimilar air combat training (DACT) mission against German Typhoons. Swiss Hornets team up with Belgian F-16s and German Tornados. All in all, over fifty fighter aircraft are involved in Tiger Meet 2014. Some of these war machines are adorned with truly beautiful artwork.


The Tiger Meet may be illustrative of joint operations by western air forces, its roots go back quite a long way. The very first unofficial Tiger Meet was held in 1960 in the UK, followed by the first full on Tiger Meet in 1961. The NATO Tiger Association now consists of 23 full member units, 16 of which where present at Schleswig-Jagel, representing Germany, Poland, France, Switzerland, Belgium, Turkey, Czech Republic, UK, the Netherlands, Norway, Hungary and Austria. The current Tiger Meet runs until Friday 27 June.

© 2014 AIRheads’ editor Elmer van Hest

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French Air Force (Armée de l'Air) Dassault Rafale two-seater to land in sometimes rainy and very windy conditions at Schleswig-Jagel Airbase during the NTM2014 (Image © Marcel Burger)
French Air Force (Armée de l’Air) Dassault Rafale two-seater to land in sometimes rainy and very windy conditions at Schleswig-Jagel Airbase during the NTM2014
(Image © Marcel Burger)
Sporting a nice winter tiger camo and conformal fuel tanks, this Polish Air Force F-16C pilot greets the public at the NTM2014 at Schleswig-Jägel Airbase (Image © Marcel Burger)
Sporting a nice winter tiger camo and comformal fuel tanks, this Polish Air Force F-16C pilot greets the public at the NTM2014 at Schleswig Airbase
(Image © Marcel Burger)
Probably the coolest Tiger on the block during the NTM2014, the German Air Force EF2000 in a stunning paint scheme. (Image © Marcel Burger)
Probably the coolest Tiger on the block during the NTM2014, the German Air Force EF2000 in a stunning paint scheme.
(Image © Marcel Burger)
Black Tiger on fire as this German Air Force Tornado leaves Schleswig Airbase with full afterburner to start its mission of the day during the NATO Tiger Meet 2014 (Image © Marcel Burger)
Black Tiger on fire as this German Air Force Tornado leaves Schleswig Airbase with full afterburner to start its mission of the day during the NATO Tiger Meet 2014
(Image © Marcel Burger)
Whobbling a bit in windy conditions this RNLAF F-16AM comes in to land at Schleswig Airbase, Germany, during the NATO Tiger Meet 2014 (Image © Marcel Burger)
Whobbling a bit in windy conditions this RNLAF F-16AM comes in to land (Image © Marcel Burger)
Tiger on approach, as this Swiss Air Force F/A-18 Hornet is about to return to the NTM2014 nest at Schleswig (Image © Marcel Burger)
Tiger on approach, as this Swiss Air Force F/A-18 Hornet is about to return to the NTM2014 nest at Schleswig
(Image © Marcel Burger)