Fifty years after the traditional NATO Tiger Meet was last first held in Italy, the Italian Air Force’s 36th Wing is hosting the 2023 meeting at Gioia del Colle Air Base from October 2 to 13, 2023.
Around 80 aircraft from more than ten NATO and Partner nations are meeting at the military air base located in southern Italy between Bari and Taranto. Air and ground crews participate in complex training drills that aim to refine cooperation and facilitate the sharing of flying experiences among fighter and helicopter squadrons in a multinational setting. The Tiger Squadron of NATO’s Airborne Early Warning and Control Force is scheduled to fly out of its Forward Operating Base at Trapani providing airborne control of aerial activities.
The exercise provides daily interoperability training, tactical-level live-fly opportunities for air interdiction missions, Close Air Support (CAS) and search and rescue missions. During Composite Air Operations (COMAOs) the participants refine common tactics, techniques and procedures, sharing experiences with colleagues from other armed forces which could be critical in real-world scenarios.
According to the NATO Tiger Association – an association of flying squadrons bearing a predator in their unit crest – Tiger Meets have evolved into first-class military exercises where the participants fly combined missions encompassing the entire spectrum of military operations.
For countries that cannot afford to participate in large-scale Flag-series exercises, a ‘Tiger Meet’ is one of the few multinational exercises available. In view of the changing worldwide security situation, participation is becoming ever more critical to maintain operational readiness and flying skills in a combined setting.
Over more than six decades, many air force squadrons have marked their calendars for the NATO Tiger Meet. It took place for the first time in Italy in 1973 at Cameri Air Base and returned to the country in 1980 and 1988. Thirty-five years later, Italy again hosts this key international training meeting, also in conjunction with the celebrations for the 100th Anniversary of the Air Force, established as an autonomous branch in 1923.
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Story by Allied Air Command Public Affairs Office based on input from Italian Air Force and NATO Tiger Association