75 Years 350 Squadron
In the morning of May 25th, 2016 I was invited by the Belgian Air Force to witness the official presentation of the Belgian F-16 "Mike-November-Bravo". The presentation was held at the Florennes Air Base which is home of the 350th Squadron operating F-16 Fighting Falcon's. On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the 350th Squadron, one of the Belgian F-16's (FA-129) got a new special tail paint.
The 350th Squadron was formed in 1941 during the Second World War and was the first Royal Air Force (RAF) squadron to be formed by Belgian personnel. In the beginning the squadron operated the Supermarine Spitfire and in 1944 it provided beach-head patrols during the invasion. It contributed to the allied victories at the Battles of Dieppe, Normandy, the Ardennes, in the countryside of Holland and finally in Germany between 1941 and 1945. The 350th Squadron also operated against the German V-1 rockets attacking England using the Spitfire XIV. In 1946, the squadron was integrated into the Belgian Air Force and in July 1949 the 350th squadron received its first jet aircraft; the Gloster Meteor mk. 4 and 8. After using F-104G Starfighters from 1964 till 1975 they were finally replaced with F-16's.
In the presence of the Commanding Officer (CO) of the 350th Squadron and the Commander of the Belgian Air Force the F-16 A-129 "Mike-November-Bravo" was officially presented on May 25th, 2016 to the public and people of the media. The new tail paint on the F-16 FA-129 is an important reference to the rich past of this squadron. The design consists of camouflage colors of the RAF, registration and roundels of its origin. The particular registration choice, "Mike-November-Bravo", corresponds with the code worn by several Spitfires of the 350th Squadron. The tail of the aircraft shows the head of Ambiorix, a profile of a Spitfire and the mention "Fortissimi since 1941". After a static photoshoot myself and a dozen photographers were brought to a place near the runway were we could take beautiful pictures of the take off of this special Belgian F-16. After taking off the F-16 "Mike-November-Bravo" carried out three fly by's after which it landed again at the Florennes Air Base.
Text & photos: Kris Christiaens
Location: Florennes Air Base, Belgium
More info: Belgian Air Force