Tag Archives: Belgium

Sweden offers Gripen to Belgium

Denmark was considered “a waste of time”, but Belgium is a different story. Sweden has decided to join the race for the next-generation multi-role fighter jet for the Belgian Air Component.

The Swedish Defence and Security Export Agency (FXM) confirmed it submitted a background document to the Ministry of Defence of Belgium on 15 December 2014. “In June this year, FXM received a request on joining a feasibility study for the country’s future combat aircraft procurement. FXM accepted. The request applies to the next generation of SAAB Gripen, the Gripen E,” a press release reads.

Interesting detail in the Belgian communication about the current process is that Brussels calls it the Gripen R. Sweden is not the only country in the race. Belgium is also requesting information from France for the Dassault Rafale, from the United Kingdom for the Eurofighter Typhoon and from the United States for the Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II and Boeing (McDonnell Douglas) F/A-18 Hornet. Judging the current climate in Belgium we at Airheadsfly.com believe that the finale will be between the F-35, Rafale and Gripen, in that order of choice. Dassault already sent in its papers.

Since 1979, Belgium has been flying the Lockheed Martin (General Dynamics) F-16A/M which is due to be fully replaced by 2028. The Belgian Air Component officially has 54 of the F-16s left, but not all of them are operational. With the increased co-operation in a joint air defence with northern neighbour the Netherlands, the F-35 might be a most logic, but also an expensive choice. The Netherlands already buy 37 F-35s to replace their F-16s.

How many new fighters Belgium will buy is not decided yet. The base need is four fighter jets for Quick Reaction Alert, a maximum of 10 fighters deployed in two operations abroad, plus a number of jets for immediate ground support and longer term air defence in case of a threat/conflict at home.

© 2014 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger, based on source information of the FXM and the Belgian MoD

Related: Rafale F3R offered to Belgium
AND: Joint Air Defence over Benelux

A Swedish Air Force JAS 39C Gripen fighter at Linköping-Malmen (Image © Marcel Burger)
Belgium is interested in the next-generation Gripen-E, which will also succeed this Swedish Air Force JAS 39C Gripen fighter at Linköping-Malmen (Image © Marcel Burger)

Belgium: window shopping for F-16 replacement

A Belgian F-16BM, seen here pulling Gs in its natural element; the blue yonder. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
A Belgian F-16BM, seen here pulling Gs. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

Belgium has quietly sent out Requests for Information (RFI) to five different aircraft manufacturers about a future replacement fighter aircraft for the current but ageing Belgian Air Component’s Lockheed-Martin F-16AM/BM fighters.

The Ministry of Defence has asked for more info on the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II, the Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet, Dassault’s Rafale, Saab’s Gripen and the Eurofighter EF2000 Typhoon, according to sources in Belgian media.

The first of 160 Belgian F-16s entered service on 29 January 1979. Over the years, the number of F-16s in use was reduced to 72, with a further reduction to 60 scheduled for 2015. The type is to remain flying with Belgian Air Component until 2023.

© 2014 AIRheads’ editor Elmer van Hest