Belgium brings forward B-Hunter UAV retirement

The Belgian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has announced that it will retire its Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) B-Hunter reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) four months earlier than planned.

The plans – which are part of a wider transformation effort within the Belgian military – were revealed on June 24. In a statement, the Belgian MoD cited that the B-Hunter’s low availability and its inability to meet modern operational standards and requirements as reasons for the retirement being brought forward.

IAI B-Hunter [Belgian MoD] #1
A Belgian IAI B-Hunter reconnaissance UAV - serial 281 (c/n BH281) - taxis by. ​​​​The type will soon be retired from Belgian service. Belgian MoD​​​

“Early retirement will allow released personnel to optimally prepare for the 2023 planned deployment of the MQ-9B SkyGuardian and to strengthen other weapon systems. For the initial technical support of the MQ-9B, maximum use will be made of industry,” the release said.

AirForces Intelligence data states that, as of June 28, the Belgian Air Component operates a total of 12 IAI B-Hunter UAVs under 80 UAV Squadron at Florennes. The platform entered service with the air arm in July 2002 and 18 were delivered. Six aircraft have been lost to attrition.