Lockheed Martin F-16AM/BM (MLU) Fighting Falcons of the Belgian Air Component deployed to Landivisiau, Brittany in North-West France for a training exercise to maintain high level of qualifications, mainly at night whilst work is carried out on the infrastructure of Florennes Air Base.
Aircraft and personnel from two of the Belgian front line fighter squadrons, 1st and 350th Squadrons of the 2 Tactical Wing, deployed to Landivisiau, a French naval air base from September 6-24.
A total of 12 F-16s were deployed and approximately 140 personnel left Florennes Air Base for the training exercise. The deployed military staff included air mission support personnel, technicians, ground liaison officers, joint terminal attack controllers and admin staff.
The main mission objective whilst in France was to qualify all F-16 pilots in night flying. In addition to this, this exercise provided various courses to less qualified pilots and to train more experienced pilots of the F-16 to gain higher levels of responsibility.
Two waves were performed Monday to Thursday of the exercise, one during daytime and the other at night, it was a fast-paced exercise with operations starting in the early hours of the morning, approximately 7am and running into the early hours of the following morning. On the Friday, no night flying was performed, instead two waves during daylight were operated by the F-16s.
During the deployment Belgian Air Component personnel carried out joint training operations with the Landivisiau-based Marine Nationale (French Navy) Dassault Rafale M fighters. According to a statement released by the ‘Belgian Defence’ on September 24, the exercise provided an “enriched sharing of knowledge” between the Belgian Air Component and the French Navy given the different doctrine the two forces operate under.