The Recce Meet is a Nato exercise which has been established since 1956. The last edition took place at Mont-de-Marsan air force base in April 2014. The base is located in Southern France, approximately an hour's drive South from Bordeaux. The event was hosted by Armée de l’Air’s Base Aérienne 118.
The exercise is used to bring reconnaissance squadrons together for an annual challenge. The aim is to encourage participants from all over Europe and use the opportunity to exchange methods and skills among pilots and navigators.
Recce Meet 2014, Mont de Marsan, France
During a period of three days each participating squadron flew a total of five missions. Missions began at first light and continued until late evening.
The significance of this particular exercise is that come August 2014 the Mirage F1 will be retired from Armée de l’Air’s service. To mark the occasion the hosts used the exercise as an opportunity to invite enthusiasts from around the world onto the base to document the types participation in an operational environment for one last time.
It is fair to say that the Mirage F1, a regular sight in the skies over Europe over the past 30 years, will be missed once retired to the bone yard.
Armée de l’Air participants included the Mirage F1, Mirage 2000C, Mirage 2000D, Rafale and Alpha Jet. Other French military platforms operated from their own respective bases. Foreign participants took the form of x2 very rare RF-4E Phantom II's from the Greek Air Force, and x2 F/A-18 Hornets from the Spanish Air Force.
The main objectives of the Recce Meet are too; (a) Study and practice exercises designed to simulate allied operations in realistic war and battle conditions; and (b) Practice mixed fighter operations in both strike and reconnaissance roles against realistic ground and airborne assets.