Meeting Des Nations

A special 1958 show at Liège-Bierset was among the greatest gatherings of NATO air power...

new jet fighter, destined to dominate NATO air power for decades to come, making its European debut. Such events, by definition, occur only seldom. It was at Le Bourget in 1975 that the General Dynamics YF-16 first-footed on this side of the Atlantic, starring at the Paris Salon. The Royal Netherlands Air Force introduced the Lockheed Martin F-35 to the continent’s public, doing so at Leeuwarden during its 2016 open days. And what of their illustrious, exhilarating predecessor, the Lockheed F-104 Starfighter? It took its bow in 1958, appearing at a display that would have been notable even without its attendance.

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