Go inside Europe’s Top Gun training school with The Fighter Show 

The latest episode of the Fighter Show has landed on Eurofighter’s award-winning YouTube channel and sees host, Flo Taitsch, go behind classified doors at the NATO Tactical Leadership Programme (TLP) for fighter pilots in Albacete, Castilla-La Mancha, South-East Spain.

Flo Taitsch at the NATO Tactical Leadership Programme in Albacete

The first TLP of 2024 brought together more than 30 aircraft and 650 participants, offering a space for the best of the best fighter pilots from NATO nations to participate in an impressive joint exercise, practicing combat air scenarios and interoperability amongst nations. 

Designed to teach aircrews to lead, train, and operate missions together, students are exposed to challenging scenarios based on current and emerging threats that NATO nations might encounter, throughout the three-week course.

Offering a fascinating insight into the TLP course and the hugely challenging scenarios the students undertake - in the skies and on the ground, Flo catches up with “Toro”, “Jedi” “Alex” and “Juanjo” over the course of a day during the most recent TLP meet-up at the Spanish air base. 

Speaking about the main purpose of the TLP, Instructor, “Toro”, said: “We are looking for the next guy who can lead a mission in NATO, to develop their leadership skills so they are ready to command and lead a mission in the next conflict.”

On making the TLP challenging for even the most experienced pilots, Toro said: “Three missions flown in a simulator, followed by two weeks of real flying tactical complex missions which increase in complexity as the days continue.”  

Dispelling the myth from the movies, Toro goes on to explain that instructor vs student flight challenges are reserved for the silver screen, with reality offering a different picture. 

He said: “We need to be here [at the air base] while they are flying. We have a real-time monitoring system…and can trigger the events required for them to do airborne decision-making.

In the first TLP flying course of the year, participating NATO nations included Italy with Eurofighter, Spain with EF18 and Eurofighter, France with Rafale, Greece with F16, Switzerland with F18 and the Czech Republic with JAS-39 plus an opposing force (Red Air), there was a total of 10 aircraft, with France participating with Rafale, Italy and Spain with Eurofighter, Switzerland with F18 and Greece with F16.

Flo said: “This latest episode of The Fighter Show is a fantastic opportunity to see the NATO pilots come together and exercise their skills in a variety of aircraft and we were lucky enough to see it all happen up-close from the air base in Albacete.”

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Launched in 2023, The Fighter Show is a world-first YouTube series. With episodes filmed at a variety of outdoor locations including Air Bases and Air Shows, plus studio episodes with a live audience, and guest interviews with pilots, engineers, technicians and authors and fronted by Flo Taitsch, The Fighter Show can be described as “Top Gear meets Top Gun.” The Fighter Show is broadcast fortnightly from the Eurofighter YouTube platform: youtube.com/eurofightergmbh