The current 349th Squadron and 350th Squadron of the Belgian Air Force started out in 1942 as Nos. 349 and 350 RAF with exiled Free Belgian members in British livery. After cutting their teeth on Lend-Lease Curtiss P-40 Tomahawks, they transitioned to Supermarine Spitfire Mark IXCs and later Mark Vs and flew close-in beachhead patrols over Normandy on D-Day, moving inland very soon after. The Belgians were pretty good too, fielding no less than 14 aces during the war including Col. Remy Van Lierde who chalked up six enemy aircraft and an impressive 44 V-1 flying bombs, ending the war as Squadron Leader of No. 350.
A No. 64 Spitfire with invasion stripes,
Today they fly F-16s but one Viper of each squadron has been given 1944 throwback Invasion Stripes for the upcoming 75th Anniversary of D-Day events next month.
I must say, they look great.
Note the tail flashes with the Spitfires and Squadron markings.
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.