Austrian Air Force - Graz/Thalerhof
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The visit at the airbase Nittner in Graz/Thalerhof was one of the highlights of this trip, because the base is the home of the 18 F-5E Tigers that are currently on lease from the Swiss AF.
Since the farewell of the Draken they transitionally overtook the Air Interception and Defensive Counter Air Operations. To train the pilots 4 additional Saab 105OE are also based there and for QRA two F-5s armed with guns and missiles are constantly on alert together with an additional one only armed with a gun. To fly them two pilots are always on standby. For this duty the jets have been modified with a backup radio and in general the aircraft are recognized amongst the pilots as a very good aircraft in the transition process from the Draken towards the Eurofighter.
Though both aircraft emanate from the same generation and are equipped with the same sensors to fulfil the same tasks, the pilots appraise the carefree handling and the good turning rate of the Tiger. During the visit the Tiger and the Draken have been described as being "quite similar, but very different".
After all this information I was very pleased that there were a well prepared F-5 and Saab 105OE ready to be photographed on the ground, and the flightline could also be approached where two Tigers were prepared for a training mission. And in a far corner of the apron some old Draken frames could also be discovered…