The Belgian Air Force has gradually resumed F-16 flights this week. As of Sunday, March 14, the F-16 detachment in Jordan was operational again and since Friday, March 19 at 09:00, Belgium is also again in charge of the air safety mission above BENELUX, a task that the Royal Dutch Air Force had temporarily taken back.
Following a fault in which part of the variable exhaust from an F-16’s F-100 engine came off, Belgian Defence decided last week to suspend flight operations for a short period. Additional directives from the manufacturer and specific inspections and repairs carried out by technical staff at the Kleine Brogel and Florennes air bases allowed the resumption of air operations on the F-16.
It has also had an impact on the aircraft currently participating in Operation Desert Falcon, the DAESH combat support mission in the Middle East. To replace the engines, Defence brought two F-16 engines to the region’s deployment airfield twice last week. It was also a first, as the new A400M transport aircraft made its first operational flight to Jordan on Friday, March 12.
Technicians from the on-site detachment removed the engines from the planes and replaced them with engines that had been repaired in Belgium. The planes have been operational again since Sunday, March 14, as part of this mission which contributes to peace and security in the Middle East.
In order to prioritise the continuation of Operation Desert Falcon, the Belgian Air Force has asked colleagues from the Royal Netherlands Air Force to temporarily resume Quick Reaction Alert, the BENELUX airspace surveillance mission. Under normal circumstances, this is a mission which, every four months, is carried out alternately by the Dutch Koninklijke Luchtmacht and the Belgian Air Force. This Friday, March 19, at 09:00 local, Belgium resumed this mission.
March 19, 2021