Dragon DRW50039 Belgian General Dynamics F-16A Fighting Falcon Fighter - "25th Anniversary NATO Tiger Meet 1985" (1:72 Scale)
"Obsolete weapons do not deter."
- British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
Even at the ripe old age of 20, the F-16 Falcon remains a fast and potent favorite among fighter pilots, and one of the best fighters in its class. Designed originally as a no-frills, single-engine "hot rod", the addition of improved radar and weaponry have made the Falcon a super, lightweight jet. Used mainly as a bomber, the Fighting Falcon can also turn-and-burn with unbridled fury when provoked. It is also one of the first operational fly-by-wire aircraft; its flight controls being electronically operated and computer controlled. A 20mm cannon, Maverick missiles, and laser-guided bombs make the F-16 a potent multi-role fighter. However, it's light weight, speed and agility make it the choice of the US Air Force's Thunderbirds aerobatic team.
Pictured here is a gorgeous 1:72 scale diecast replica of a F-16A Falcon commemorating the 25th Anniversary of NATO's Tiger Meet in 1985.
Historical Account: "The Air Component" - The Air Component, formerly the Belgian Air Force, is the air arm of the Belgian Armed Forces. The current commander is Lieutenant-General Gerard Van Caelenberge.
In the beginning of the nineties, the end of the Cold War caused the Belgian government to restructure the Belgian Armed Forces in order to cope with the changed threats. This meant cutbacks and crimping of the Armed Forces. The Belgian Air Force was hit hard and saw its strength more than halved with the disbanding of the 3rd Tactical Wing in Bierset (1994); the disbanding of the 1st Fighter Wing in Beauvechain; the 9th Training Wing in Sint-Truiden; and the Elementary Flying School in Goetsenhoven (1996).
In 2002, the Belgian government decided to emulate Canada and impose a "single structure" on its armed forces in which the independent Belgian Air Force ceased to exist. The former Air Force became the Belgium Air Component (COMOPSAIR) of the Armed Forces. COMOPSAIR nowadays consists of 2nd Tactical Wing in Florennes and 10th Tactical Wing in Kleine Brogel, both flying F-16's in 4 squadrons. Out of the 160 F-16s originally bought by Belgium, only 105 were upgraded; with further reductions to 72 aircraft in 2005; and planned to 60 by 2015. The 1st Wing at Beauvechain is assigned with the training of pilots for which the Marchetti propellor-driven trainer aircraft is used for elementary training, and the Alpha Jet for advanced training. Advanced fighter training occurs in the F-16 at Kleine Brogel.
COMOPSAIR still uses the Lockheed C-130 Hercules in the 15th Air Transport Wing based at Melsbroek, Belgium, which in time is planned to be replaced by seven Airbus A400M transport planes. VIPs are transported with Embraer 135/145 jets, the Dassault 20/900 and the Airbus A310. The Sea King helicopters and the Alouette III SAR helicopters will be active for years. They will be replaced by NH-90's (10: 4 NFH + 6 TTH).
In 2004, as part of the new unified structure, the Army Aviation units were transferred to the COMOPSAIR. These contain the Agusta A109 attack helicopter, and the Alouette II training and recce helicopter.
Within the framework of its commitments within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Belgium has allotted its 72 F-16s to NATO purposes. Two squadrons with a total of 16 aircraft have been designated for use by the Rapid Reaction Forces.