Visit MoD Belgian Air Component
On February 3, 2021 the Belgian Minister of Defence Ludivine Dedonder paid an official visit to the Air Component (Belgian Air Force) of the Belgian Armed Forces. This official visit took place at the Beauvechain airbase (EBBE) where the Minister of Defence was met by the Belgian Air Force Commander Thierry Dupont and the 1Wing Commander Jean-Didier Vandezande. Upon arrival, the Minister of Defence paid a visit to the new Control and Reporting Center (CRC) that monitors the airspace over Belgium and Luxembourg day and night. If necessary, The Control and Reporting Center (CRC) also accompanies the interceptions of Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) missions. In addition, the new Control and Reporting Center (CRC) also houses the National Airspace Security Center (NASC), which is a Belgian agency in which defense, police and customs work together to collect and analyze all air incidents.
After her visit to the CRC, the Minister of Defence took the members of the press to the other side of the airbase where the Minister could meet representatives of all units within the Belgian Air Component (Belgian Air Force). For example, the Minister of Defence had the opportunity to talk to pilots of F-16 squadrons, helicopter pilots, pilot instructors and even firefighters and specially trained soldiers from the Force Protection who are responsible for the safety of the aircraft and their crews. After the introduction to the different units and squadrons, several demonstrations followed such as a SAR exercise with a NH90 NFH helicopter from the 40th Squadron as well as a FAST Roping & Underslung exercise with Special Forces and a NH90 TTH helicopter from the 18th Squadron. A medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) exercise of an injured Special Forces soldier with an A109 helicopter of the 17th Squadron was also demonstrated for the Minister. These demonstrations showed the Minister of Defence how important the different helicopter squadrons are within the Air Component of the Belgian Armed Forces and which important tasks they all can perform.
Text & photos: Kris Christiaens
Location: Beauvechain Air Base, Belgium
More info: Belgian Air Force