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Interview: Belgian Air Component Commander on F-16 fighter replacement project.

| 2017
World Defense & Security News - Belgium
Interview: Belgian Air Component Commander on F-16 fighter replacement project
During Belgian Air Force's Helidays 2017 at Beauvechain Airbase, Air Recognition had the chance to meet with the Chief of BAF, Major General Frederik "Fred" Vansina to learn the latest on the country's project of replacement of its fleet of F-16AM/BM fighter jets.
Dubbed "Air Combat Capability Program" (ACCaP), the Belgian Defense project will see the 54 remaining F-16s being replaced by 34 new multi-role combat aircraft to be delivered from 2023 at a rate of 4-5 aircraft per year.

"The program aims at selecting a partner government with whom to negociate and conclude adequate gov-to-gov agreements in order to preserve a credible Belgian air combat capability when the current F-16 fleet is retired," explains the Request for Government Proposal (RfGP) issued on March 17, 2017.

According to the RfGP, the level of ambition of the future Belgian air combat capability is to be able to simultaneously guarantee Quick Reaction Alert / Air Policing duties with two aircraft (24/7) in an alterning rotation regime with the Royal Netherlands Air Force; and to contribute air power to expeditionary operations for a sustained period of undetermined duration with six multi-role aircraft.

"Basic Operational Capability (BOC) allowing Quick Reaction Alert duties with the new weapon system should be possible by mid-2025. An Initial Operational Capability (IOC) allowing limited expeditionary operations is foreseen mid-2027," unveils the RfGP.

For budgetary planning purposes, the BAF tentatively set the Full Operational Capability (FOC) for 31 December 2030. The follow-on period is then defined as the 28-year period starting 01 January 2031, the BAF adds.

As Boeing left the ACCaP program on April 19, only four platforms are still competing: Lockheed Martin’s F-35A stealth fighter, the Rafale F3R from Dassault Aviation, the Eurofighter Typhoon proposed by the eponym European consortium, and the JAS 39E/F Gripen manufactured by the Swedish company Saab.



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