Last of the Snails

After 24 years of service in Portuguese Air Force colours, the Alpha Jet disappeared forever from the skies of Portugal at the end of January. Stefan Degraef assesses the type’s last years of operations.

Portuguese Alpha Jets

A smart three-ship of Esquadra 103 Alpha Jet As, led by serial 15211 (c/n 0037, ex 40+37). The other two jets – serials 15206 and 15250 – are in the colours of the Asas de Portugal (Wings of Portugal), the FAP’s former demonstration team, although the team last performed in 2009.
Jose Matos

Until recently, the modern infrastructure of Base Aérea No 11 (BA11) at Beja was a hive of activity. For the Força Aérea Portuguesa (FAP, Portuguese Air Force), the resident Esquadra 103 ‘Caracóis’ (‘Snails’) was where future fighter pilots were made.

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