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Jaguar A from the 'home' teamCo-operation is the key

CO-OPERATIVE KEY 2002, ST DIZIER, FRANCE - Geoff Stockle reports on an Eastern European gathering

Since the end of the cold war at the beginning of the nineties, NATO has seen its role change from the defence of Europe by a massive onslaught from the Warsaw Pact to one of global involvement in smaller conflicts and counter-aggression/terrorism.

Full NATO members
UK
USA
CANADA
NORWAY
DENMARK
GERMANY
THE NETHERLANDS
BELGIUM
SPAIN
PORTUGAL
ITALY
GREECE
TURKEY
CZECH REPUBLIC
POLAND
HUNGARY
ICELAND
LUXEMBOURG
FRANCE (maintains neutral tendencies)
Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (includes all 19 NATO members plus the following)
ALBANIA
ARMENIA
AUSTRIA
AZERBAIJAN
BELARUS
BULGARIA
CROATIA
ESTONIA
FINLAND
GEORGIA
IRELAND
KAZAKHSTAN
KYRGHYZ REPUBLIC
LATVIA
LITHUANIA
MOLDOVA
ROMANIA
RUSSIA
SLOVAKIA
SLOVENIA
SWEDEN
SWITZERLAND
MACEDONIA
TADJIKSTAN
TURKMENISTAN
UKRAINE
UZBEKISTAN

Indeed, NATO now has three former WarPac nations in its ranks - Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic to swell its signed-up members to nineteen (see left). Many other 'old enemies' now see NATO as the corner stone of mutual defence and are trying to join, and reap, the collaborative benefits. Whilst this selection process is a lengthy one, a programme was initiated in 1993 so as non-members could participate with NATO and become associated with some of the systems and procedures that have been finely tuned since 1949.Turkish AF F-16C

It's Hip to be in...
Bulgaria
Croatia
Latvia
Lithuania
Macedonia
Moldova
Slovakia
...unless you're a cat
Romanian AF Puma

This initiative is the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) and includes all nineteen NATO members as well as twenty-seven others (see left). Amongst other duties the EAPC overseas an annual military exercise under the Partnership for Peace (PfP) title.

Five exercises have been held so far in Romania ('96 & 2000), Slovakia ('97), Turkey ('98), and Bulgaria (2001).The latest entitled 'Co-operative Key 02' was held at the French Air Force base at St Dizier-Robinson (Base Aerienne 113), currently home to the last wing (EC 007) of Jaguars in French Air Force service.

Greek AF Mirage 2000Seventeen nations participated with some sixty aircraft directly involved and some 1,800 ground personnel over the period of 22 September to 5 October. The first week was set aside for acclimatisation and familiarisation flights and the Lithuanian An-26second week for actual 'missions'. At least two nights each week were allocated for night flying, daytime activities occurring between 11:00 and 18:00 with two missions varying in endurance depending on the type of aircraft. Only the transports flew solo outings, the tactical jets and helicopters operating in impressive packages of up to ten aircraft, most led by French types. Additional aircraft were noted over the two weeks and some aircraft were exchanged over the period. There were also various support and visiting types. Up to ten Jaguars were noted.

Bulgarian AF 'Frogfoot'With a reasonable forecast for early autumn, the chance of seeing incredibly rare types and air arms plus the opportunity to photograph the dwindling fleet of French Jags, the event looked too good to miss. It turned out to be very worth the trip with a welcoming relaxed attitude, even from the local Gendarmarie, for spotting and photographing from the local football field. Co-Operative Key 2003 will be held next autumn at Plodiv, Bulgaria, and again a long journey may well be worthwhile!

Co-Operative Key 2002 aircraft participation log:

COUNTRY

TYPE

SERIAL

UNIT

Bulgarian AF

An26

080

1-16TrAE/16TAB

Mil 17

404

1-24VAE/24VAB

Su25K

254

22SA

Su25UBK

002

22SA

Croatian AF

Mil 8MTV-1

H-251

28ETH/94ZB

French AF

C160R

R218/64-GR

ET01.064

CN235M-200

114/62-IJ

ETL01.062

AS355N

5392/VB,5430/VL,****/VW

EH02.067

SA330B

1375/AM,1620/AW

EH01.067

Mirage 2000C

83/12-YL,97/12-YT

EC01.012

"

116/12-KF,124/12-KB

EC02.012

Mirage 2000D

666/3-IK,669/3-JZ

EC01&02.003

Mirage 2000N

341/4-AF, 366/4-BO

EC01&02.004

Jaguar A

A120/7-HL,A138/7-HV

EC01.007

Hellenic AF

Mirage 2000EG

213,219,237

331MPK/114PM

Mirage 2000BG

203

331MPK/114PM

Hungarian AF

An26

405

1SRS/89VSES

Italian AF

AB212AM

MM81150/51-73

651Sq/51ST

G222TCM

MM62137/46-95

46AB

Latvian AF

L410-UVP

145

Transport Flt

Mil 8MTV-1

102

SAR Helo Flt

Lithuanian AF

An26B

05

Transport Esk/1AB

Mil 8MTV-1

21

Srt Esk/2AB

Macedonian DF

Mil 8MTV-1

VAM-304, 306

301 Trans Heli Esk

Moldovan AF

Mil 8MTV-1

01

Helo Regt

R Netherlands AF

Fokker 60UTA-N

U-02

334SQN

Romanian AF

C130B

6166

1Esc/Baza90A

IAR330L Socat

41, 78

2Esc/Baza61A

Mig21MF Lancer C

6010,6305,6824

Baza95A-CtdAS

Slovak Combat Air Force

An26

3208

1DL/32ZmDK

Mil 17

0823

3Letka/34VRK

Slovenian 1st AF

AB412EP

H2-36, H2-37

Heli SQN/15AF Brig

Swiss AF

AS532UL

T-338

Flgr 4

Turkish AF

F16C

92-0004,0006,0010,0012

182Filo/8nciAJU

CN235M-100

95-099

125Filo/2nci AJU

USAF

A10A

81-0951,81-0978,81-0983,

81FS/52FW "SP"

"

81-0984,82-0650

"

C130H

87-9286

357AS/908AW

NB - Additional aircraft were noted over the two weeks and some aircraft were exchanged over the period. There were also various support and visiting types. The list above was seen over the period 1-3 October. Up to ten Jaguars were noted but the two listed above appeared to be the main pair allocated to the exercise.

With thanks to the excellent NATO, St Dizier town and Scramble websites.

 

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