The head of the Defense Ministry Mariusz Błaszczak took part in the start of the NATO Tiger Meet 2018 exercise at the 31st Tactical Air Base in Krzesiny on May 14, 2018.
70 aircraft, 10 helicopters and an AWACS early warning and targeting aircraft will participate in NATO Tiger Meet 2018 training (NTM18), which is held for the first time in Poland.
31 The Tactical Air Base in Krzesiny hosts the training on May 14-25. Twenty-two squadrons from 13 countries take part in it, including Italy, Spain, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Hungary, Switzerland, Austria, France and Great Britain. This is the largest venture of the Polish Air Force in 2018, prestigious for the entire Armed Forces of the Republic of Poland.
Minister Mariusz Błaszczak, addressing the participants of the exercise, said:
- I would like to thank all those who take part in today's meeting, and representatives of all countries participating in NATO Tiger Meet 2018 exercise are with us. This is a very important event for allied NATO forces and this is an important event for the Polish Air Force - said the Minister.
The head of the Ministry of Defense referred to numerous tasks carried out by Polish F-16s pilots:
- Today, the Polish Army using F-16aircraft takes active part in allied missions, takes care of the security of the North Atlantic Treaty states' skies, and I myself had such a personal satisfaction that in September 2006 together with Prime Minister Jarosław Kaczyński I participated in the symbolic hand over – take over of the first F-16 during a visit to Texas.
In 2011, during the 50th anniversary of the NATO Tiger Association in Cambrai, aircraft from Poland took part in the training for the first time. In 2014, the 6th Tactical Aviation Squadron (6elt) from the 31st Tactical Air Base (31BLT) won the title of "Best Flying Sqadron" and joined the NATO Tiger Association as its full member.
The commander of the 31st Tactical Air Base Colonel Rafał Zadencki, acting as the exercise director, said that AWACS early warning aircraft will participate in the exercise, while NATO Tiger Meet is the largest periodical air training in Europe.
Minister Mariusz Blaszczak became familiarised with the functioning of the operational area of the aviation training, including the mission planning proces after which the pilots soon took off for their missions. Briefing of flight crews conducted by Polish pilots with flyers from other countries, carried out efficiently and professionally, guaranteed the safety of flights when at the same time several dozen aircraft is in the air.
The Minister of National Defense observed the aircraft taking off during the exercise in Krzesiny together with students of paramilitary and aviation classes from nearby primary, middle and high schools. Krzesiny air base supports initiatives of students interested in serving in the Polish army and regularly hosts pupils and students during major events.
The Minister of National Defense Mariusz Błaszczak together with the airmen from Krzesiny celebrated the 100th anniversary of Poland's independence, posing for a commemorative photograph "# PL100" between one of the first aircraft used by Polish Air Force - Albatros D.II and the most modern multirole aircraft F-16. In 2018 we celebrate also the 100th anniversary of Polish aviation.
During a visit to the air base, Minister Mariusz Blaszczak laid flowers at the monument to the presidential couple Maria and Lech Kaczyński and general pilot Stanisław Targosz and at the monument dedicated to the memory of general pilot Andrzej Błasik, commander of the Polish Air Force.
The objective of NATO Tiger Meet (NTM) is the joint development and cooperation between squadrons. These are to be training to exchange experiences and improve cooperation during the combined air operations (COMAO) in accordance with NATO standards.
Training of the "Tiger Squadrons", i.e. aircraft and helicopters units having an image of a tiger in its emblem, functions in the tradition of NATO and Partnership for Peace since the 1960s. The exchange of experiences and establishing of partner relations during the exercises began with two squadrons from USAF and RAF, which then formed the Tiger Squadron Association.
The 6th air squadron from 31st TAB in Poznan - Krzesiny is a full member of the association since 2011.