From the 26th of November until the 30th of November 2012 approximately 450 employees and eight F-16's from Leeuwarden Air Base (AB) were based at Eindhoven AB, both in the Netherlands. The latter was assigned to host for an exercise to prepare a detachment from Leeuwarden AB for the Capability Evaluation (CAPEVAL). The detachment consisted of a combination of 322 and 323 squadron. On the 27th of November, exercises were executed by night. Global Air Power Media witnessed this up close.

The exercises purpose is to train for the mandatory NATO exam CAPEVAL which takes place late 2013. Captain Tennekes from Eindhoven AB explains: "Every three years a F-16 Main Operating Base (MOB) has to successfully complete this exam, in which the function of a detachment at location outside its home base is judged. Even though no F-16's are stationed at Eindhoven AB anymore, it still can function as a F-16 MOB because all the necessary infrastructure is still present." Operational and personnel aspects are the main part of the exams. In addition, NATO tests the operational readiness, communications, coordination, security, transportation and supply of the detachment.

To prepare for the exams as good as possible, all aspects of the exercise are held confidential for all detachment members. This applies especially for all night flying missions, in order to get optimal training results. Captain Tennekes: "Because of the associated stress and high activity, only the detachment members are allowed within the exercise area of this airbase. Even personnel stationed at Eindhoven AB who don't have any involvement with the exercise aren't allowed to enter the designated area. The civilian part of the air base and its commercial flights aren't bothered by the extra flying activities or other parts from the exercise.

For 2013, the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) expects to train a few times more for the CAPEVAL exams. Due to the fact that training abroad can be very expensive, the RNLAF probably will assign Eindhoven AB again to be the host for the employees and F-16's from Leeuwarden AB.

Global Air Power Media would like to thank Major Harry van den Dries and Captain Martin Tennekes.