Text & Pictures: Marc Arys  -  sbap 2020
Belgian Operations 2020
- presspoint at Kleine-Brogel airbase on March 09, 2020

Focus on Operation Baltic Air Policing (BAP)
(overview given by Lt Col Sam Verheyen)

The aim of this NATO air policing mission is permanently safeguard the integrity of the Alliance members' sovereign airspace on a 24/7 basis, protecting the Baltic skies since 2004, when Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania joined the Alliance. As these latter nations lack the means to provide their own security, they can rely on the solidarity and assistance of other NATO members.
Belgium was the first country to deploy for BAP in 2004 when 4 F-16 were deployed to Siaulai (Lithuania) from April 04 till July 04.

Since then, Belgium Air Force aircraft and personnel has ensured these Baltic Policing missions 9 more times :
- 2006 - BAP - Siaulai (Lithuania)
- 2013 - BAP - Siaulai (Lithuania)
- 2014 - BAP - Siaulai (Lithuania)
- 2015 - Enhanced Air Policing Measures (EAPM) - Malbork (Poland)
- 2016 - EAPM - Amari (Estonia)
- 2017 - EAPM - Amari (Estonia ) see our report on :
- 2018 - BAP - Siaulai (Lithuania)
- 2019 - BAP - Siaulai (Lithuania)
- 2020 - BAP - Siaulai (Lithuania)

The Belgian Air Force tasks were :

- Quick Reaction Alert (QRA)
- Interception
- Visual identification
- "Shadowing"
- Show of presence

To fulfill these missions, the Belgian Air Force F-16's were equipped with 2 AIM-9 Sidewinders, 2 AIM-120 AMRAAM (Advanced Medium Range Air to Air Missile) and 510 20mm bullets for their Vulcan cannon. Besides the aircraft, 59 personnel are also present including pilots, operational- and technical support personnel.

During their last stay, the Belgian fighters intercepted several aircraft ranging from transport aircraft to fighter jets.

Before the presentations of the Belgian military operations 2020 and the focus on the Baltic Air policing missions, we assisted to a little insight on how compound access control is managed. Vehicles are subjected to a thorough search with 'explosive detection dogs' (EDD) as well as with mirrors. Persons are subjected to a 'body' search to ensure no 'weapons' or other devices are carried inside the secured compound.

After the operations overviews, we had the opportunity to witness the start-up, taxi and take-off of two F-16's outbound Pampa Range at Houthalen-Helchteren for a fire power demo, sadly reduced to some strafing runs with their Vulcan cannons. Nevertheless, strafing runs were quite accurate...

Access point to the secure compound Search with EDD
Man's best friend is also the enemy of terrorism
The dog's olfactory senses are more than 35 times stronger than that of humans. Who needs who ? Mirror bottom side control
Body search with metal detector and manually
Some two seaters on the line Take-off and jet wash
Full AB take off for the FA-127 Quite impressive war machine the Fighting Falcon
Outbound to Pampa Range
Welcome to "Pampa Range"
The target before the strafing runs Strafing runs with the 20mm Vulcan cannon
Break out after the shooting pass
20mm Vulcan cannon in action Brrrrrrrrrt !!!
Break to the left this time The target after some shooting passes, quite accurate runs
A last salute before heading to the homebase The well known "Pampa Range" control tower

Reports Menu - Homepage