Belgium and the Netherlands closed a deal on Wednesday 4 March, in which both countries will share Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) duties. Also involved is Luxembourg, which has no air force of its own. The agreement was in the works for a long time already, as reported here on Airheadsfly.com.
The Belgian Air Component and the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) will in turn provide a QRA-capability for the whole airspace over Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. Until now, both countries had their own QRA. Over the last year, NATO’s QRA fighter aircraft had their hands full intercepting nosy Russian aircraft.
By the end of 2016, the shared QRA should be in full swing. According to the Dutch Ministry of Defense, the arrangement frees up pilots and aircraft for other missions. That’s especially important, given the replacement of the current 67 F-16s with just 37 Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightnings from 2018 onwards.
© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image: A Lockheed Martin F-16 (Image © Elmer van Hest)