A Belgian Air Component General Dynamics (Lockheed-Martin) F-16AM Fighting Falcon just after take-off from its homebase Kleine Brogel, flying with 10 Wing (Image © Marcel Burger)

Europeans gearing up to bomb Iraq

A Belgian Air Component General Dynamics (Lockheed-Martin) F-16AM Fighting Falcon just after take-off from its homebase Kleine Brogel, flying with 10 Wing (Image © Marcel Burger)
A Belgian Air Component General Dynamics (Lockheed-Martin) F-16AM Fighting Falcon just after take-off from its homebase Kleine Brogel, flying with 10 Wing (Image © Marcel Burger)

At least three European countries are gearing up to send fighter units to Southwest Asia to bomb so-called Islamic State forces (ISIS) positions in Iraq: France is first, with Belgium and Netherlands eager to follow.

French president Hollande said on Thursday 18 September that his country said “yes” to a formal request by the Iraqi leadership for air support for the forces fighting ISIS. Currently a pair of Rafale fighters operate out of Al Dhafra in the United Arab Emirates to photo and video map areas in Iraq, but as soon as Paris has analysed the collected data more Rafales and Mirage 2000s are expected to head that way.

The Belgian minister of Defence Pieter De Crem said to the national parliament in Brussels that the government wants to send six Belgium Air Component F-16 Fighting Falcons to attack ISIS forces and possible even one or more Lockheed C-130H Hercules aircraft for tactical airlift.

In the meantime sources within the Netherlands Ministry of Defence have leaked to the media that the Hague is considering to send F-16s as well. It will likely mean at least four Vipers, but more likely the Dutch will match the Belgians with six aircraft; the neighbouring countries might even form a joint expeditionary unit with Incirlik or Diyarbakir in Turkey as possible basing options.

© 2014 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger

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Finally! Hercules can do an Elephant walk too! (Image © Dennis Spronk)
Belgium considers sending one or more of its dozen C-130s for operations in Iraq as well (Image © Dennis Spronk)