Squadron Exchanges 1977

18 till around late April 1977

During this period some Royal Navy 809 Squadron Buccaneer S.2D aircraft from Honington were seen operating with MFG 1 at Schleswig Jagel, flying the F-104 Starfighter. This event looks like a one-way squadron exchange but we still need confirmation. It also could have been a deployment for a Naval exercise or something else. Who can confirm?

13 till 22 April 1977

This month a squadron exchange took place between the Royal Air Force 29 Squadron, based at Coningsby, flying the F-4 Phantom and the Italian Air Force 9 Gruppo, based at Grosseto flying the F-104S. It is unknown if it was a 1 or 2 way exchange. At least the Italians flew to Coningsby. Aircraft at Coningsby were F-104S MM6702/4-12, MM6721/4-11, MM6770/4-4 and MM6869/4-3. Aircraft F-104S MM6711/4-7 and TF-104G MM54251/20-15 arrived at Coningsby a month earlier on March 8th for a pre-visit and stayed the night. On the photos left MM6721 code 4-11 and right MM6869 code 4-3 both at Coningsby.

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May 1977

This month a squadron exchange took place between the Canadian 421 Squadron, flying the CF-104 Starfighter at Baden-Sollingen and RAF 16 Squadron, based at Laarbruch, Germany, flying the Buccaneer S2B. It is unknown if this was a one or two way exchange but at least an unknown number of Canadian Starfighters flew to Laarbruch. (Patrick Martin / 421 Squadron Information)

May 1977

This month a squadron exchange took place between the Canadian 439 Squadron, flying the CF-104 Starfighter at Baden-Sollingen and RAF 31 Squadron, based at Bruggen, Germany, flying the Jaguar GR.1. It is unknown if this was a one or two way exchange but at least an unknown number of Canadian Starfighters flew to Bruggen.

2 till 11 May 1977

This month a squadron exchange took place between the Royal Air Force 12 Squadron, based at Honington, flying the Buccaneer and the German Navy MFG2, based at Eggebek flying the F-104G. It was a 2 way exchange. In total six Starfighters flew to the UK and also six Buccaneers were welcomed in Germany.

June 1977

This month a squadron exchange took place between the Italian Air Force 132 Gruppo (part of 3 Aerobrigata), based at Villafranca, flying the F-104G and the USAFE 17 TRS/26 TRW based at Zweibrucken, equipped with the RF-4C. It was a two way exchange.

31 May till 9 June 1977

This period a squadron exchange took place between the Belgium Air Force 31 Smaldeel of 10 Wing, based at Kleine Brogel, flying the F-104G and the German Navy MFG1, based at Schleswig-Jagel flying the F-104G as well. Six Belgium Starfighters flew to Northern Germany including FX60 and FX84. (some reports mentioned also FX94 but this was not yet confirmed). Most probably it was a 2 way shifted exchange with MFG1 to fly to Kleine Brogel later in the year!

14 till 23 June 1977

This month a squadron exchange took place between the Dutch Air Force 312 Squadron, based at Volkel, flying the F-104G and the Danish Air Force 725 Esk, based at Karup, flying the Saab A 35 XD Draken. It was a 2 way exchange. In total nine different Draken aircraft participated but not all at the same time. On June 20th and 21st a number of aircraft were replaced. Five Dutch F-104G Starfighters flew to Denmark being D-6683, D-6697, D-8063, D-8268 and D-8312. The photo shows the Saab Draken fighters over Volkel Air Base taken by Frans van den Berk.

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20 till end June 1977

This period the Royal Danish Air Force 723 Esk based at Aalborg, flying the F-104G, exchanged with RAF 56 Squadron flying the F-4M Phantom based at Wattisham, temporary flying from Wethersfield AB. It was a two-way exchange. Five Starfighters (RT-654, R-347, R-341, R-832 and R-888) arrived in the UK the 20th, and four Phantoms flew to Denmark. Beneath photos taken by Frank Swinkels at Wethersfield during the exchange.

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25 July till 4 August 1977

This period there was a squadron exchange between the Belgium Air Force 23 Smaldeel (10 Wing), operating the F-104G from Kleine Brogel and the French Air Force EC 2/4 ‘La Fayette’ operating the Mirage IIIE from Luxeuil. It was a 2-way exchange.

26 July till 4 August 1977

This period a squadron exchange took place between the German Air Force JBG31 (2nd Staffel), based at Norvenich, flying the F-104G and the Italian Air Force 102 Gruppo, based at Rimini flying the F-104S. It was a shifted 2 way exchange. This first period the Italians came to Norvenich. Some believe it ended on August 8th, but the 4th of August is confirmed. Aircraft “5-14” (very likely MM6842), MM6750/5-01, MM6781/5-13 and MM6846/5-16 were noticed. All Italian aircraft got JBG31 badges on its inlets as souvenir as can be seen on the photo beneath. Later in August the Germans flew to Rimini as can be read further beneath.

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10 till 19 August 1977

This period a squadron exchange took place between the German Air Force JBG31 (2nd Staffel), based at Norvenich, flying the F-104G and the Italian Air Force 102 Gruppo, based at Rimini flying the F-104S. It was a shifted 2 way exchange. After the Italians visited Norvenich in July till early August, later in August the Starfighters from Norvenich flew to Rimini. During the stay in Italy the German Starfighters received 102 Gruppo badges on their intakes. Aircraft involved were 20+15, 20+44, 23+98, 26+05 and 28+31. (See photos beneath) Photo 1: JBG31 guys at Rimini. Here they are standing and sitting on F-104S MM6846 code 5-16 which had been in Norvenich some weeks earlier and has JBG31 badge on its inlet... Photo 2: Nice flightline at Rimini. Aircraft seen are from right to left German 20+15 and 26+05, then Italian brand new MM6916 code 5-20 and the MM6846 code 5-16 (note the JBG31 badge on inlet. Photo 3: Italian MM6842 code 5-14 flying formation with German 20+15 over the sea near Rimini. Note the JBG31 badge on the inlets... The other photos show the F-104Gs 20+15, 20+44, 23+98 and 26+05 when back at Norvenich, clearly showing the 102 Gruppo badge on the inlet. (Photos thanks to Helmut Baumann)

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23 August till 1 September 1977

This year a squadron exchange took place between the Dutch Air Force 306 Squadron, based at Volkel, flying the RF-104G and the USAFE 1 TRS/10 TRW, based at Alconbury, UK flying the RF-4C Phantom. It was a 2 way exchange where eight different RF-4C aircraft came to Volkel, one replacing the other. Dutch Starfighters which flew to the UK were RF-104G D-8013, D-8103, D-8127, D-8145. Photo (taken by Gerrit Hiemstra) shows aircraft D-8103 taxying on the Alconbury runway during the exchange.

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30 August till early September 1977

This period a squadron exchange took place between the Danish 726 Eskadrille, operating the F-104 at Aalborg, and 5 Squadron based at Binbrook, UK flying the Lightning F.6. It was a 2 way exchange. The participating Danish aircraft at Binbrook were R-704, R-758, R-771, R-846 and two-seater RT-662. The R-704 was seen on the static show at Binbrook the 3rd of September during the open house. Beneath a photo showing aircraft R-771 at Binbrook (by Adam Meijer)

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August 1977

This month a squadron exchange took place between the German Air Force JBG36 (1st Staffel), based at Hopsten, flying the F-4F Phantom and the Italian Air Force 156 Gruppo, based at Gioia del Colle flying the F-104S. Most likely it was  a 2 way exchange but at least Italian Starfighters flew to Germany being MM6784/36-43, MM6907/36-33, MM6911/36-39 and unidentified "36-34". Photo left shows a wonderful line-up of all four participating 36 Stormo Starfighters with in front MM6907 with code 36-33. (Photo taken by Zetsche), the second photo shows the same lineup but the last two aircraft. (photographer unknown)

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20 till 29 September 1977

This month a squadron exchange took place between the Dutch Air Force 323 Squadron, based at Leeuwarden, flying the F-104G and the German Air Force JG74, based at Neuburg, flying the F-4F Phantom. It was a 2 way exchange. Four F-4F Phantoms flew to Holland and six Starfighters flew to Neuburg. Among them were D-6655, D-6667 and D-8115. The D-6667 received JG74 badges on the speedbrakes, seen later in Leeuwarden. Transport was arranged by the Dutch Air Force (via three F-27 Troopships) from the start and at the end the Luftwaffe arranged the transport back with two C-160 Transalls. Beneath two photos provided by 323 Squadron pilot Guy Putker showing the arrival of the aircraft and the goodbye ceremony after the exchange had ended at Leeuwarden. Third photo shows the JG74 badge on the speedbrake of D-6667, taken by Andries Warring.

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25 September till 6 October 1977

This period a squadron exchange took place between the Dutch Air Force 311 Squadron, based at Volkel, flying the F-104G and the Italian Air Force 154 Gruppo, based at Ghedi flying the F-104G. It was a 2 way exchange. The Starfighters which flew to Volkel were MM6510/6-01, MM6577/6-06, MM6542/6-11 and MM6553/6-21. Beneath photos of all the participating Italian Starfighters. Code 6-06 was photographed by Paul van Oers.

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27 September till 6 October 1977 

This period a split squadron exchange took place between the Royal Air Force 15 Squadron, based at Laarbruch, flying the Buccaneer and the German Navy MFG2, based at Eggebek flying the (R)F-104G. The first period (Sept-Oct) the Germans flew with six RF-104G Starfighters to Laarbruch while later from 17 till 27th October the English aircraft flew to Eggebek in return.

18 till 27 October 1977

This month a squadron exchange took place between the Norwegian Air Force 331 Skv, based at Bodo, flying the F-104G and the USAFE 526 TFS/86 TFW, based at Ramstein, flying the F-4E Phantom. It was a 2 way exchange.

October 1977

This year a squadron exchange took place between the Canadian 421 Squadron, flying the CF-104 Starfighter at Baden-Sollingen and RAF 23 Squadron, based at Wattisham, flying the Phantom FGR2. It was a shifted exchange where a number of Canadian Starfighters flew from Wattisham in October and the Phantoms flew from Baden already in July. (Patrick Martin / 421 Squadron Information)

25 October till 3 November 1977

This month a squadron exchange took place between the Dutch Air Force 322 Squadron, based at Leeuwarden, flying the F-104G and the Royal Air Force 11 Squadron, based at Binbrook bringing three Lightning F.3 and one Lightning T.5 aircraft. It was a 2 way exchange. During this event a soccer game was organized at Leeuwarden where the 322 Squadron team beat the team from Binbrook. However in Binbrook also a soccer match was organized where the British won!! In total 322 Squadron flew to Binbrook with 6 Starfighters being D-5813, D-6653, D-6657, D-8272, D-8286 and D-8297. During arrival they planned to make a fly pass from the North but due to a navigation error the formation flew 3 miles South of the Airbase approaching it from the other side. The Lightnings made a fly-pass during their departure from Leeuwarden. Four aircraft flew very low “through” the trees opposite the 322 Squadron building. Later on they heard that this had been a mistake. Number 4 didn’t hear that he had to fly out of his box-position. The leader expected to be able to fly low along the squadron building while number 4 was still thinking “Stick to your leader!!”…. Gladly nothing serious happened but it was an impressive fly-pass!! Photos beneath shows F-104G D-8341 ready for takeoff with guest pilot in Lightning from 11 Squadron at the runway of Leeuwarden. (Photo: Henk Schakelaar) and  both TF-104G D-5813 and D-8272 were taken at Binbrook during the exchange by Gerrit Bouma.

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1 till 10 November 1977

This month a squadron exchange took place between the Norwegian Air Force 334 Skv, based at Bodo, flying the CF-104 and the German Navy MFG1, based at Schleswig Jagel flying the F-104G. It was a 1 way exchange where four CF-104 aircraft flew to Germany only.

7 till 16 November 1977

This month a squadron exchange took place between the Italian Air Force 23 Gruppo, based at Rimini, flying the F-104S and the Royal Air Force 5 Squadron, based at Binbrook flying the Lightning. It is unknown if it was a 1 or 2 way exchange. However the Italians flew to the UK where MM6827/5-30 and MM6822/5-34 arrived at Binbrook on November 7th and MM6873/5-35 and MM6922/5-36 landed a day later.

November 1977

The Belgium Air Force 1 Wing - 349 Squadron operating the F-104G at Beauvechain exchanged this period with the RAF 2 Squadron, operating the Jaguar GR.1 at Laarbruch. It is unknown if it was a 1 or 2 way exchange.

Unknown period in 1977

This year a squadron exchange took place between the Canadian Air Force 441 Squadron, based at Baden-Sollingen, flying the CF-104 and the Italian Air Force 10 Gruppo, based at Grazzanise, flying the F-104S. It is unknown if it was a 1 or 2 way exchange but at least the Canadian CF-104s flew to Grazzanise. One of the aircraft seen at Grazzanise was 104761. Among the aircraft seen at Grazzanise were 104761 and 104892. At least aircraft 104892 was zapped with a small horse insigne. The left photo was found by Roger Seroo within the 441 Squadron books and shows 104761 taxying in front of the main 9 Stormo hangar. The other photo was taken in 1978 by Paul Tips at Ramstein and shows clearly the 10 Gruppo insigne zapped on the fuselage added in Grazzanise.

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Unknown period in 1977

This year a squadron exchange between the German Air Force JBG34, based at Memmingen, flying the F-104G Starfighter and the Norwegian Air Force 718 SKV based at Sola, equipped with F-5A. It is unknown if it was a 1 or 2 way exchange. No further details known sadly except that one photo was found regarding this exchange (beneath).

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