Ample Gain – Ample Train

These exercises were initiated to improve the ability of NATO's Air Forces to work on and with each others aircraft; ground servicing crews from one nation will work with air crew and aircraft from other nations. This exercise was a result of a decision taken by AIRCENT (Allied Air Forces Central Europe) and often mentioned the multinational Aircraft Cross-Servicing exercise. From around mid 1989 the name Ample Gain Meet was changed in Ample Train. Beneath an overview of these exercises in which Starfighters participated. We understand that this overview might be not complete and we are interested in all corrections and additional information.

AMPLE GAIN MEET 1986/1 - Zweibrucken AB - 9 till 13 June 1986

Italian Air Force 132Gruppo (MM6522/3-04, MM6529/3-01, MM6586/3-12). See photo beneath of aircraft 3-01 (Peter Doll)

MM6529_3-01_Zweibrucken_AmpleGain_jun86
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AMPLE GAIN MEET 1986/2 - Wittmundhafen AB - 23 till 26 September 1986

Italian Air Force F-104's MM54250/4-33 (4Stormo/20gruppo), MM6717/51-15 (51Stormo/22gruppo), MM6775/5-30 (5Stormo/23gruppo), MM6822/36-01 (36Stormo/12gruppo) and MM6839/4-2 (4Stormo/9gruppo) participated.

AMPLE GAIN MEET 1987/2 - Volkel AB - 7 till 11 September 1987

Italian Air Force 28Gruppo (MM6547/3-37, MM6576/3-45). On 9 September an press day was organised.

AMPLE GAIN MEET 1988/1 - Villafranca - May 1988

The only F-104 units involved were the based 28 Gruppo and 132 Gruppo. This Ample Gain Meet was hosted by 132 Gruppo. This Ample Gain was Recce oriented. Beneath the used patch during this exercise.

AmpleTrain_LIPX_1988
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AMPLE GAIN MEET 1989/1 - Laarbruch AB - 5 till 9 June 1989

Italian Air Force 102Gruppo (MM6744/5-01, MM6910/5-04 and MM6920/5-26)

AMPLE TRAIN 1989/2 - Baden Sollingen AB - 23 till 27 October 1989

The Italian Air Force participated 10 Gruppo from Grazzanise AB with the F-104S Starfighter. Beneath a patch made for this exercise.

ampletrain_1989-2_Baden
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AMPLE TRAIN 1990/1 - Cameri AB - 1990

Unknown if other F-104 squadrons participated on the airbase hosting F-104S from 53 Stormo.

AMPLE TRAIN 1990/2 - Bremgarten AB - 22 till 26 October 1990

Italian Air Force 132Gruppo (MM6542/3-04 and MM6631/3-05). Beneath photos of the participating Starfighters at Bremgarten taken by Peter Steendam on October 25th.

MM6542_3-04_Bremgarten_AmpleTrain_25oct90XMM6631_3-05_Bremgarten_AmpleTrain_25oct90X
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AMPLE TRAIN 1991/1 or 2? - Kleine Brogel AB - 12 till 14 June 1991

Italian Air Force 102Gruppo (MM6744/5-07, MM6845/5-11)

AMPLE TRAIN 1992/2 - Gioia del Colle AB - September 1992

At the time 12 Gruppo (with F-104S/ASA) and 156 Gruppo (with Tornado IDS) were based at Gioia del Colle.

Starfighters seen during this event included: MM6596/3-36, MM6599/3-34, MM6762/37-04, MM6809/36-03, MM6835/36-12, MM6842/37-26 and MM6881/36-16.

AMPLE TRAIN 1993/1 - St Mawgan AB - 24 till 27 May 1993

Italian Air Force 22Gruppo (MM6703/51-23, MM6719/51-06)

AMPLE TRAIN 1993/2 - Ramstein AFB - 2 till 4 October 1993

Italian Air Force 9Gruppo (MM6769/4-2, MM6787/4-7)

AMPLE TRAIN 1994/1 - Twenthe AB - 6 till 10 June 1994

Italian Air Force 12Gruppo (MM6732/36-02, MM6828/36-07), MM6733/36-10 and MM54257/4-39. The 36-10 and 4-39 both landed June 8th and returned home on June 10th.
Beneath photos: MM54257 code 4-39 (thanks to Martin Philips) and MM6828 code 36-07 (thanks to Dick Lohuis) taxying at Twenthe Air Base.

MM54257_4-39_TWT_AmpleTrain_jun94_MartinPhilipsXMM6828_36-07_TWT_AmpleTrain_jun94_DickLohuisX
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AMPLE TRAIN 1994/2 - Pferdsfeld AB - 10 till 14 October 1994

Italian Air Force 21Gruppo (MM6796/53-06, MM6816/53-14, MM6848/53-04, MM6925/53-01, MM6939/53-11). Beneath photos taken by Peter Doll, showing 53-14 and 53-01.

MM6816_53-14_Pferdsfeld_AmpleTrain_oct94MM6925_53-01_Pferdsfeld_AmpleTrain_oct94
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AMPLE TRAIN 1995/1 - Örland AB - 29 May till 2 June 1995

Italian Air Force 18Gruppo (MM6747/37-24, MM6759/37-26, MM6798/37-01). Aircraft flew back to Istrana by making a stop at Soesterberg AB. They departed from this airbase on June 5th to Italy

AMPLE TRAIN 1998/1 - Trapani AB - 1998

Unknown if other F-104 squadrons participated on the airbase hosting F-104S/ASA from 37 Stormo, 18 Gruppo.

Note: Ample Gain Meet was the exact name of the first events in order to differentiate it from the 1/2 days long Ample Gain missions (more or less a kind of cross servicing mission).  When they were Ample Gain Meet they were much more oriented: some editions were mainly for recce units, other for bombers and others for AWX. These exercises started in 1983 (to be confirmed).
With the new Ample Train exercises, starting from 1989, this was no more the case. Ample Gain Meet and Ample Train usually took place 2 times per year. The last Ample Train was organized in 2005 at Gando AB.