Supercruise Aviation - Article
Ocenan Tiger 2008 at Landiviau

When 74 squadron first re-equipped with the Lightning in 1960, John Howe had been well aware of the US Air Force Tigers at Woodbridge, the 79th TFS of the 20TFW. Correspondence between the two units had been going on since the first contacts had been established during Keith Haselwood’s time, and occasionally a social meeting was arranged.

On impulse on that, John picked up the phone to speak to his counterpart at the Suffolk base, perhaps with a subconscious idea to set the ball rolling on some sort of operational exchange rather than a purely social one so that 74 Sqn could show off their new mount. What he was not aware of at that time was that an old friend of his, Ed Rackham, had just taken command of the 79th TFS. Their meeting again after almost ten years prompted the idea of the two squadrons getting together on a regular operational basis.

In 1962 the Tiger Meet was a much bigger affair and eight squadron were represented; the credit to this goes again to Mike Duggan, who had spend a large part of his time identifying Tiger Squadrons in all the European and European Based air forces. 74 Sqn was heavily involved in the work up for Farnborough at the time and, sadly, this commitment allowed the squadron to send only officers to observe and to participate in the social activities, although, as we have seen, it was able to display the lightning at the end of the Meet.

After that the Tiger meetings where getting bigger every time and this Tiger Meet is the 44th meeting since the first one in 1961.

Last year the Tiger Meet was held in Ørland, Norway. In 2008, the meeting would be held in Germany by the 32 JaBoG in Lechfeld. But in September 2007 the Germanys cancelled the meeting. So a new squadron had to be found and very quick.

Luckily the 11F at Landivisiau was willing to organize the meeting. The name for this exercise would be Ocean Tiger and was scheduled from the 22nd till 29th of June. For the aviation enthusiast, a spottersday was planned on Friday June 27th.

Many of the Tiger squadrons where intersed in the exercise, so there was great list of participants

Sqn Aircraft type Sqn Aircraft type
31 Sqn F-16AM/BM Ala 15 EF-18A/B+
11 Staffel F/A-18C AG 51 Tornado IDS
11 F Super Etendard M JTS Saab 105
EC 01.012 Mirage 2000B/C 211 Sqn JAS-39C/D
EC 05.330 Rafale B/C 21 Gruppo AB-212ICO*
814 Sqn Merlin EH101 1 Sqn E-3A Sentry**
230 Sqn Puma HC.1 313 Sqn F-16AM***
321 Sqn Mi-24V 338 Sqn F-16AM***
142 Esc Mirage F1 JaboG 321 Tornado ECR****

* Didn't fly missions
** Flying from Geilenkrichen
*** Weekend only
**** Flying local missions on Friday only

This year there where some squadrons that never attended a Tiger Meet, at least not flying along in the exercise. The 211 squadron from the Czech Republic was one of then and the other one was the Jet Training Squadron from Austria.

We where 3 days at Landivisiau, Friday the 27th for the spotters day, Saturday the 28th for the arrival of some extra airplane for the air show and Sunday the 29th for the air show.

27 June, Spotters day
The organization of the spotters day was perfect. The buses drove regularly from the parking place to the airbase. On the airbase it self, there where more then enough places where there was the possibilities to take picture of the airplanes, including beside the taxiway. During the spotter day there where two sortie's, one in the morning en one in the afternoon. It was possible to make pictures during the take-off.

After the landing most all the planes came down the taxiway, so that there was a good possibility to take pictures.


28 June
On this day there was not al lot to do. There was not to possibility to go on the airbase, so a place outside the airbase was are only option. During this day a couple of extra airplanes and helicopters landed. These where for the air show the next day.
Also during this day, some of the pilot's toke the opportunity to practice there air demonstration for the next day, the air show.


29 June, Air show day
So good the as the organization of the spotters day was bad it was during the Air show. It al started at the parking place. The buses didn't go from one parking spot, but did a tour around a couple. So at first the buses came along the parking spot I was standing, but none of them stop. Wen they finally came back, the first one's where already full.
Eventually we got to the airbase.

My plan for this day was to take some action shouts of the air show, but also to take detail pictures of the Tiger paintings on the airplanes.

Like I already said, I also wanted to take nice close-ups of the Tiger planes.

At first, the Super Etendard M. There where two black ones, but there some minor differences between them.

The Mirage 2000C also had a very nice color scheme.

The Spanish EF-18A+ didn't had a extreme color scheme, only a fine on top of the fuselage and a drop-tank in tiger colors. In the cockpit there was a tiger skin over the hud.

The Belgium F-16AM had a very nice painting on its tail. Like in the EF-18+, they had placed some tiger skin over the hud and also over the ejection seat.

The F-16BM from Norway had a black and white color scheme. On the tail tiger and over the rest of the fuselage the normal gray, but at some placed, the gray was torn open, to reveal tiger lines. On the drop-tank a nice painting of the squadron.

Also on the tail of the Swiss F/A-18C, was tiger head, but one was in full color. On the fuselage, near the cockpit, there was nice drawing of a tiger head. On the drop-tank, there was claw, ripping the tank open.

The French had one more plane painted in a tiger scheme and that was a Rafale M. On the whole fuselage there was a very nice full-color tiger marking and on the tail was a eye of the tiger. On the drop-tank the text Ocean Tiger.

The Spanish Mirage F.1 had only colorful tail, where a saber-tiger was killing a white shark. In the cockpit there was stuffed tiger.

The last in this line, a German Tornado IDS, with a full color tiger on its tail.

After very good day a Landiviau, it was time to go home. But was get on the airbase a disaster, getting of was a nightmare. Al the buses had to make tour on the base, to pickup the people for the different parking places. so far so good, but road that they had to ride inside base was only one lane, so if the first bus at the beginning of the line was not driving, the rest was also not driving. It was a mess, but eventually I got of the base.

Text en photo's by François van Riel