Tactical Leadership Programme Course 2009-2

 

Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States are the eight NATO nations that at present form the Allied Command Operations (ACO) Tactical Leadership Programme (TLP). According to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) binding the eight nations, the objective of TLP is to increase the effectiveness of allied tactical air forces through the development of leadership skills, tactical flying abilities and mission planning and tasking capabilities, as well as through conceptual and doctrinal initiatives.

In the Flying Branch, experienced pilots improve their leadership skills and flying capabilities to become combat mission commanders, NATO Air Forces enhance their interoperability through exposure to other nations’ tactics and capabilities and ACO tests new tactical concepts in order to improve its striking power.

Mirage 2000EG 553 Greek Air force

2009-2 was the first TLP course in which the Hellenic Air Force participated with its new Dassault Mirage 2000-5EG multi-role combat aircraft. Three of the four jets were upgraded Mirage 2000EGs (527, 540 and 545 formerly 227, 240 and 245), while the fourth (553) was a newly-built Mirage 2000-5EG. All aircraft belonged to 331 Mira of Tanagra based 114 Wing.

 

The Academics Branch forms experts in offensive, defensive, EW (Electronic Warfare) and CSAR (Combat Search And Rescue) operations as well as in intelligence. A series of ground courses are centred on threat doctrine and tactics, weapons and weapon’s effects, aircraft performance, SAM and GBAD capabilities, battle staff management, etc.

 Mirage 2000EG 527 Greek Air force

The -5EG can carry up to six 60 km range MBDA MICA radar-guided or heat-seeking air-to-air missiles, four of which are carried on side fuselage hardpoints and two under the wings. The improved RDY-radar can detect up to 24 targets simultaneously and track eight of them, four of which in priority mode. In the air-to-ground role, the -5 Mk.2 can be armed with the SCALP/Storm Shadow long-range (250+ km) cruise missile against hardened stationary or moving targets. This capability, however, is not considered by TLP as it goes beyond its aim of tactical planning training.

 

The objectives of the Concepts and Doctrine Branch are to examine national tactical deployment and employment concepts and to improve their cohesion, their concepts and doctrine for integrated operations, their command and control, etc. In order to better support the allied commander’s mission objectives. This branch also studies conventional force requirements and developments and provides recommendations in that area.

 TLP is currently based at Florennes Air Base, Belgium, but will operate from Albacete Air Base, Spain, from TLP Course 2009-4 onwards. The dense air traffic over Belgium, the often limiting weather conditions and the ban on night-flying are among the often cited reasons for the move to Spain. Greece and France will join the Tactical Leadership Programme at its new location. The move to Spain will also be seized to render TLP’s structure more efficient and more effective by merging the Academics and the Concepts and Doctrine Branches into a single Academics and Doctrine Branch.

 Line up Spanish Hornets

 The Spanish Air Force was the largest participant in TLP 2009-2 with six upgraded Boeing EF-18M aircraft of Ala 12 and Ala 14, based at Torrejon and Albacete Air Bases respectively. Participation by member states in the different TLP courses is regularly limited by equipment or personnel availability. The Royal Netherlands Air Force, for example, did not participate in TLP 2009-2 because of its commitments in numerous missions abroad.


Polish Air Force Lockheed Martin F-16C Block 52+

 Polish Air Force Lockheed Martin F-16C Block 52+

One of the most potent aircraft at TLP 2009-2 was the Polish Air Force Lockheed Martin F-16C Block 52+. 4049 of the 31st Air Base at Poznan is seen here carrying both the short range heat-seeking AIM-9X and the medium range radar-guided AIM-120C air-to-air missiles. Poland takes up a number of open slots reserved for other participants than TLP MoU member states. The Polish Air Force made it in no time from Observer, over Red Air to Blue Air participant thanks to its advanced equipment and its thorough training.

AMX

AMX 51-62 (MM7182) and 51-65 (MM7184) of 103° Gruppo/51° Stormo in Treviso Istrana are both upgraded to the ACOL standard (Aggiornamento delle Capacita Operative e Logistiche - Operational and Logistic Capabilities Update) and have a more modern avionics suite.

 EF2000 Typhoon 4-16 (MM7285)

 Grosseto based Eurofighter EF2000 Typhoon 4-16 (MM7285) of 9° Guppo/4° Stormo carried a pair of Diehl BGT Defence IRIS-T short range infrared air-to-air missiles. New aircraft like the Typhoon are equipped with numerous new systems, which remain “for national eyes only”, even within NATO and TLP.

 

 Wet take Off Mirage F1

Bad weather conditions in Belgium are among the different reasons quoted regularly for the move of TLP to Spain.

 

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 Text and pictures by

© Jos Schoofs (March 2009)

Last updated 31/03/09 18:17   Daniel Brackx

brackda@gmail.com