TLP 2009-3
Photo Report
    TLP 2009-3

    TLP 2009-3

    Photographer: Frank Grealish
    Date: 19th & 20th May 2009
    Location: Florennes (EBFS), Belgium

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    In July 2009 the Allied Command Operations Tactical Leadership Programme (ACO TLP), more commonly known as TLP, moved from its long time base at Florennes Air Base, Belgium, to its new home at Los Llanos Air Base, Albacete, Spain.

    On May 19th & 20th during the during TLP 2009-3 course the Belgian Air Component organised a media day (19th May) and a Spotters Day (20th May) at Florennes Air Base to give both the media and spotters the opportunity to witness the last TLP course to be hosted at the base before TLP moved to Spain.

    11 air arms from 10 countries were present on the 2 days in what was almost a mini F-16 meet, 6 of the 11 operators present were operating various variants of the venerable Fighting Falcon. The Polish Air Force were there with their new F-16D aircraft complete with enlarged spine and Conformal Fuel Tanks (CTF). The French Navy brought along some examples of their Super Etendards.

    The weather was bright but cloudy, the pictures shown were taken over the 2 days and and luckily all types were photographed at some stage in sunshine so you have a bright report to look at!

    About TLP
    The Allied Air Forces Central Europe (AAFCE) Tactical Leadership Programme (TLP) was born out of a desire by the Central Region Air Forces to not only improve the tactical capabilities of their own air forces but also to develop tactics, techniques and procedures which would enhance multi-national tactical air operations.

    Starting in January 1978, TLP courses (in the form of 2 week non-flying seminars) were held at Furstenfeldbruck Air Base, Germany. These seminars involved aircrew from the TLP MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) Nations discussing and formulating NATO tactics, techniques and procedures. The original signatories to the MOU were Belgium, Canada, Germany, The Netherlands, UK and the USA.

    In September 1979 the TLP moved to Jever AB in Northern Germany where a flying phase was added to the course, extending it to four weeks. The TLP remained at Jever until December 1988 by which time some 71 flying courses had been completed and nearly 2000 NATO aircrew had graduated.

    In March 1989 the TLP moved to the Belgian Air Force Base at Florennes where two further branches, Academic and Concepts & Doctrine were added. At this stage a French Liaison Officer joined the staff, and France now participates in most Flying Courses. While originally a Central Region organisation, the TLP has now expanded to include a number of nations from outside the Region. Denmark and Italy officially became Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Signatory Nations in January 1996, and Spain joined the Programme in 2002.

    Canada withdrew from the Programme in 1997 following the withdrawal of its forces from Germany, but maintains a Liaison Officer on the TLP staff and participates regularly in Flying and Academic Courses. In January 2002 TLP became a "Unit in Support of SHAPE" and SHAPE became a Party of the MOU. TLP is therefore now called "Allied Command Operations Tactical Leadership Programme", or ACO TLP.

    France and Greece have recently signed the TLP MOU bringing the number of signatory nations up to 10. Over the past 20 years TLP missions have evolved, depending on the military doctrine and threats of the time, from low-level operations to operations at medium and high level. The problem with low level operations is noise pollution, while operating at medium and high level the military aircraft have to share the crowed airspace over Europe with civil airline traffic.

    In 2006 the MOU Nations accepted a Spanish offer to re-locate TLP to Los Llanos Air Base. The air space around the base offer a large unrestricted area for military flying training, which will allow operational training at all flight levels and also offer the possibility of night flying operations. November 2009 will see the start of the first TLP flying course to be held at Albacete while there are plans to hold 6 x 4 week flying courses in 2010.

    IrishAirPics would like to thank Jean-Marc Tamigniaux and the staff at the Belgian Air Component Public Relations unit along with the TLP staff who helped arranged our visit on both days.

    Additional information for this report sourced at www.tlp.be