Celebrating 40 yrs of Belgian F16s

On 26 January 1979, the Belgische Luchtmacht (Belgian Air Force) received their first F-16A, FB-01, to replace their F-104 Starfighters which had been around for two decades. As such, the service just celebrated their 40th birthday with the type.

A Belgian Air Force F-16BM two-seater model, photo via BAF

The BAF currently has some 54 early models F-16A/Bs (designated F-16AM and F-16BMs respectively) in inventory remaining from a batch of 160 purchased in the 1980s. These include 43 PAA aircraft assigned to four squadrons: the 1re Escadrille de Chasse (which dates back to 1913), 31st, 350th, and 351st. In recent years they have conducted deployments to Libya and Afghanistan as well as other NATO and EU missions. They also take turns keeping two F-16s on alert to defend the airspace of all three BE-NE-LUX Lowland countries.

They are set to be replaced in 34 F-35As in coming years.

Here is a video of Belgian F-16s, flown by pilots from the 2nd Tactical Wing at Florennes while on a NATO mission safeguarding the airspace over Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia.

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