Air To Air With The Eurofighters of The Tactical Fighter Wing 74 (Taktisches Luftwaffengeschwader 74)
Situated alongside the Danube in Bavaria, Neuburg isn’t solely residence to approx. 30.000 individuals, however as nicely to tigers – the Bavarian Tigers. You discover their airbase within the southwest of the city, near the village of Zell, geared up with a 2.440 meters lengthy runway, shelter areas, hangars and QRA facility. The Tactical Fighter Wing 74 (TktLwG74), as they’re recognized with their official identify, function since 2008 all their missions with the Eurofighter and have as far as essential mission the management of airspace within the South of Germany, however are presently coaching for the air to floor function too.
For the TktLwG74, Might 17, 2016, is remembered as an necessary milestone, as on that day the wing was formally accepted as full member inside the NATO Tigers Affiliation and built-in within the Tiger Spirit. Being a full member, the Bavarian Tigers are at all times invited to take part to the NATO Tiger Meet, one of many largest excessive worth workout routines scheduled in Europe yearly. This proper of participation was initially one of many key drivers and is taken into account as a extremely necessary, acknowledged by Wing Commander Gordon Schnitger in an interview: “As soon as per 12 months, an enormous train is organized the place you fly and practice with and in opposition to one another and change on experiences. And all individuals establish themselves with this Tiger Spirit of coaching collectively and exchanging experiences!”
As with the NATO Tigers itself, the membership of the Wing in Neuburg with the NATO Tigers began as an concept of officers inside the unit. In 2012, Squadron Commander Marc ‘Turbo’ Grüne and Commander Flying Group Jan Gloystein noticed a possibility arising, as the choice had been made by the German Authorities in 2011 to face down the neighbouring Fighter Bomber Wing 32 (JaBoG) at Lechfeld south of Augsburg in 2013 as a part of the overall army reform. The JaBoG 32 included two flying squadrons – 321 Lechfeld Tigers and 322 Flying Monsters – and the primary one was a full member within the NATO Tigers Affiliation since 1994. With the disbandment in close to future, Jan Gloystein and Marc Grüne developed the thought to take over this custom and apply for full membership, highlighting the advantages for the squadron with the common participation to the Tiger Meet.
On Mar. 18, 2013, throughout a ceremony at Neuburg, the Bavarian Tigers formally took over the Tiger custom from the Lechfeld Tigers, which disbanded on the finish of that month. After this takeover, a proper request needed to be launched to change into full member on the NATO Tiger Affiliation. Supported by greater echelons and to display and categorical their motivation, Main Rafael ‘Klax’ Klaschka led a detachment consisting of three Eurofighters and 13 pilots and troopers to the NATO Tiger Meet in June 2013 in Orland, Norway. Underlining the engagement and curiosity, the tail of one of many dispatched plane was painted just for that weekend in a tiger design, realised inside a really quick timeframe by a extremely motivated crew at Neuburg.
Throughout the train in Norway, they have been welcomed as observers throughout the weekend whereas on the identical time handing their formal request for probationary membership. In distinction to different members, the request listed the complete wing at Neuburg, as each squadrons already inherit a practice as 741 ‘Falcons’ and 742 ‘Zapata’. The thought in requesting membership for the entire wing was not solely to create an total custom (subsequent to the squadron particular ones) and profit from the Tiger Spirit, however as nicely create an integrative component for the wing and its squadron itself. Wing Commander Schnitger defined: “We attempt to actually categorical the Tiger Spirit, which we took over from Lechfeld. By this we generate integration, a cohesion and connection – expressed by the particular painted plane and with the precise connection of the Tiger Spirit”. Having and supporting a practice and fostering integration was additionally the rationale behind the creation of a membership for the Bavarian Tigers, which isn’t solely open to present and previous members of the wing, however as nicely to civilians. This membership is in existence and lively until at present and retains rising to already greater than 600 membership members.
With the request for probationary membership authorized, the Bavarian Tigers achieved the common invitation to the Tiger Meets within the following years. For the annual train 2014 in Jagel, the Bavarian Tigers once more wished to precise their dedication and curiosity. The absolutely painted Eurofighter 30+09 in bronze and gold plus eight different Eurofighters deployed to the bottom in Northern Germany, clearly demonstrating the motivation and on the identical time profitable them their first award at a Tiger Meet with the “Bronze Tiger” as greatest painted plane. This primary success was adopted in 2019 by one other greatest painted plane award for the Ghost Tiger. Apart from these award profitable designs, the Tigers realised the Atlantic Tiger in 2017 for the Tiger Meet in Landivisiau, France and the Cyber Tiger in 2018 for the train in Saragoza, Spain.
Making an allowance for the extremely seen points with the painted plane and the massive excessive worth train, the wing acquired from the NATO Tiger Affiliation membership far more than initially anticipated. “Tiger Spirit usually are not solely us, there’s a neighborhood behind, different nations and international locations with their wings” as defined by Wing Commander Schnitger. This was as nicely expressed by the second president of the Bavarian Tiger membership, who highlighted subsequent to the expertise change and collaboration between the NATO forces as nicely the social side, the formal and casual change with the opposite nations throughout the train as one thing the wing didn’t find out about however worth at present very excessive and likewise necessary because the train. One expression of this social half are the Tiger Video games carried out throughout the weekend at each Tiger Meet the place groups from all collaborating wings / squadrons compete their in opposition to one another in sport and enjoyable video games. The Bavarian Tigers managed to safe the third place in 2018 and even win this competitors on the XTM in Kleine Brogel in 2021, enlarging their assortment of tiger trophies received in these first years of membership.
Taking in consideration all these milestones and achievements, the 5th anniversary of the complete membership in coincidence with the 60th anniversary of the TktLwG74 in 2021 needed to be celebrated accordingly. Each of those anniversaries are necessary, as Wing Commander Schnitger defined: “You get a symbolic recognition for the wing, you generate cohesion”. COVID19 left its mark and prohibited any giant public occasions just like the deliberate however cancelled Day of the German Navy scheduled for June 2021. At the least a proper roll name was carried out in Might with 74 members representing the entire wing and several other overflights with different plane from the German Air Power carried out, however no honourable company and even the general public may attend.
As an expression of the anniversaries, the Eurofighter with registration 31+01 acquired a particular color scheme integrating each milestones in a mixed design. Based mostly on the colors blue and white the fuselage depicts tiger eyes and stripes on the wings, which on the identical time kind a mountain with snow if regarded from high. A big wing badge on the underside of the plane and a tiger on the tail mixed with the wing badge full the design of the ‘Bavarian Tiger’. This particular colored plane was scheduled for the Tiger Meet in Beja, Portugal, however COVID19 once more left its mark and the Bavarian Tigers couldn’t attend there. In September, the specifically painted Eurofighter was at the very least on show on the anniversary Tiger Meet in Kleine Brogel, Belgium.
“Particularly in instances of COVID, the place all the things is extremely restricted, an anniversary plane generates commonality and identification” as Wing Commander Schnitger confirms. Exchanging with members of the wing clearly confirmed this motivation and the Tiger Spirit – the Bavarian Tigers already plan for the Tiger Meet 2022 in Araxos.