Belgian F-16s will guard Dutch skies and vice versa from 2016 on. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

Belgium upgrading its F-16 fighters

Belgian F-16s will guard Dutch skies and vice versa from 2016 on. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
Belgian F-16s will guard Dutch skies and vice versa from 2016 on. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

The Belgian Air Component will upgrade its F-16AM/BM Block 15 MLU fighter jets, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency confirmed. The Belgian Vipers will get new stuff for about US$ 113 million, while Brussels will slowly move to an expected purchase order for the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II.

The BAC F-16 upgrade includes 69 LN-260 Embedded Global Positioning System-Inertial Navigation Systems (GPS-INS), 8 Remote Operated Video Enhanced Receivers IV (ROVER IV), 62 AN/APX-125 Transceivers (AN/APX-125 Air Identification Friend of Foe Radios), 32 KIV-78s, 1 Joint Mission Planning System (JMPS), 4 BRU-61/A Carriage Systems, and 43 AN/ARC-210(V) RT-1990(C) Ultra High Frequency/Very High Frequency (UHF/VHF) Receiver Transmitters.

Since Belgium is no high level partner in the early development of the new stealthy American fighter it is unclear when the first Belgian Air Component F-35s could land at Florennes and Kleine Brogel airbases, even if the planes would be procured tomorrow. However, a possible decision is not expected before the end of 2014.

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