Vipers in the night !


Text & Pictures : Serge Van Heertum - SBAP



Defence is an ever lasting concern and operations must be carried out 24h/24. This is also the case for the fighter squadrons of the Belgian Defence and as such the missions are to be executed during day- as well as during nighttime. The actual deployement at Kandahar (Afghanistan) under ISAF coordination is the best example.

Nightflying has got his particularities and it is very important that pilots remain fully operational in this matter. Within the number of flying hours allocated, some of these are to be flown during nighttime to allow the pilot to stay proficient and to give him the opportunity to train on these particularities like flying with night vision goggles (NVG) or with the Sniper pod. During the training flights the pilots fly various kind of missions : navigation, air support, interception,

This is why during the spring- and fall season nightflying sessions are planned at Florennes as well as at Kleine Brogel airbase keeping in mind to respect as much as possible the quiet of the neighbours. So nightflights start from sunset till approximlatively midnight.

So in the last week of May Florennes airbase knew some intense activity after sunset. Indeed, the OCU of Kleine Brogel rejoined the Ardennes airbase to fly combined night missions with the F-16 of the 1 and 350 Squadron. During our stay some 12 missions were flown.

The fighters of Kleine Brogel had to fly from Florennes as their runway is currently under repair.

Without any doubt, the F-16 remains the spearhead of the Belgian Air Component and is even more impressive in the darkness of the night !


SBAP team would like to thank Col. L. Gennart (base commander), Cdt. F. Goossens and Comopsair IPR for all the facilities and their obligigness

Adj B. Cailleaux for the guidance and precious help during this night report.


The first wave is preaparing at dusk

F-16BM from Kleine Brogel OCU
Taxi in the dark and holding point
The impressive after burner in the dark Waiting for line up clearance
At holding point
The F-16 is still one of the best multirole fighter, even at night
Florennes runway
Other start up later in the night
Some view on the flight line with the remaining aircrafts
Magic light...
Backlight in the canopies
Back from mission
Mission accomplished...with night goggles
Refueling...night missions session is finish for today

See also :
Les Ailes Militaires Belges

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