Measuring success is always difficult if one relies on its opponent to engage. But during the first three weeks of air operations of the Belgian Air Component from Šiauliai Airbase in Lithuania, the F-16 detachment scrambled 27 times, of which 3 quick take-offs and interceptions were for real (Alpha Scrambles), reports the Belgian Air Component press service.
On September 3, 2013, four Belgian F-16 protect NATO’s most northeastern flank, with two F-16s 24/7 on stand-by. This requires a team of only seven people. Together with the back-up teams, 35 technicians and support personnel the Belgian detachment consist of about 50 people. Every moment two of them are at the Karmelava Control & Reporting Centre to help guard the airspace from the ground.
The F-16s so far made 75 flight hours while on duty, mostly accumulated during 24 so-called Tango or Training Scrambles.
Soon the Belgians will dispatch an additional four F-16s to Lithuania for the Exercise Steadfast Jazz in early November, which will also see involvement of the air forces of Poland, Finland and others.
Source: Belgian Air Component / NATO
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