Spotlight: The first and only Tiger Meet, September 1992 by Gary Parsons

Between 14 - 17 September 1992, 74 Squadron hosted a mini 'Tiger meet', the first and only one to be held at Wattisham. Many units from across NATO participated, including Hawks from 4 FTS, Valley who would assume the 74 Squadron mantle later in the year, once the Phantom fleet had been decommissioned. It was very much a swansong for 74, as it was stood down on 1 October, all flying ceasing by the end of the month.

Some tiger schemes were on display, most notably the Portuguese G91R (left), a Dutch F-16 (right) and new kid on the block, the New Jersey ANG KC-135E. This unit had just traded its F-4Es in a change of role, the 141st TFS becoming the 141st ARS, so one of the tankers was suitably adorned with a tigers head, the refuelling boom making a very suitable place to paint a stripey tail.Refuelling missions were flown with some of the other aircraft participating in the meet, although not all were equipped to use the probe method preferred by the American forces.








The variety of aircraft in the meet provided a rare chance to see formations that would never be repeated, such as;

 RAF Phantoms and Super Etendards;

...or maybe Alpha Jets.

As the Phantoms were near the end of their service, this encouraged a few pilots to be perhaps more entusiastic than they might otherwise have been, leading to some tight circuits and approaches being flown.

The 'Meet culminated a busy year for Wattisham, with the disbandment earlier in July of 56 Squadron, the flypast for the Queen's birthday and several events to mark the passing of the Phantom from the RAF's inventory. Sadly, the approach to runway 23 will never see the like again.



Aircraft involved during the four days were (click highlighted serial for picture):


Hawk T1 XX190/TA/74(R) Squadron
Hawk T1 XX226/74(R) Squadron (Tiger fin)
Hawk T1A XX350/TC/74(R) Squadron
Hawk T1A XX323/TD/74(R) Squadron
Hawk T1A XX255/TE/74(R) Squadron
Puma HC1 XW216/230 Squadron
F16A FA64/31 Squadron, Belgian Air Force
F16A FA68/31 Squadron, Belgian Air Force
CF18B 188923/439 Squadron, Canadian Armed Forces
CF18B 188926/439 Squadron, Canadian Armed Forces
CF18B 188927/439 Squadron, Canadian Armed Forces
Super Etendard 32/11 Flotille, French Navy
Super Etendard 52/11 Flotille, French Navy
Alpha Jet 41+27/JbG43, Luftwaffe
Alpha Jet 41+42/JbG43, Luftwaffe
F104ASA MM6816/53-14/53 Stormo, Italian Air Force
F104ASA MM6872/53-15/53 Stormo, Italian Air Force
F16A J-003/313 Squadron, Dutch Air Force
F16A J-004/313 Squadron, Dutch Air Force
F16A J-006/313 Squadron, Dutch Air Force
F16B J-065/313 Squadron, Dutch Air Force
F16B J-067/313 Squadron, Dutch Air Force
F16B J-068/313 Squadron, Dutch Air Force
G91R 5454/301 Esq/Portuguese Air Force
G91T 1810/301 Esq/Portuguese Air Force
KC135E 59-1456/141stARS/NJ ANG/United States Air National Guard
F111E 68-0041/79thFS/20thTFW/United States Air Forces Europe
F111E 68-0051/79thFS/20thTFW/United States Air Forces Europe
F111E 68-0054/79thFS/20thTFW/United States Air Forces Europe
F111E 68-0079/79thFS/20thTFW/United States Air Forces Europe
F27-300M C-5/334 Squadron, Dutch Air Force
F27-300M C-9/334 Squadron, Dutch Air Force