report by: Koen Wullus & Anthony Dufour
The bi-annual Belgian Air Force Days airshow 2018 was held on the Vliegbasis Kleine-Brogel. The reputation of Klein-Brogel about Airshow organisation is well established in the Airshow fanatic world. The 2018 edition did not dissapoint the public and it will remain as a global success.
The main purpose of a defense day should be to show the residents of Belgium what is happening with their tax money, and in this case, showcasing contenders for the successor of the F-16, and of course, for the recruitment of future personnel for the Air Force.The program featured a long list of fast jet fighters in every shape and color.
The highlight of this key theme was the attendance of all three contenders to replace the venerable F-16 as their primary combat aircraft: the Dassault Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon and the Lockheed Martin F-35A.
U.S. aircraft types were present in the shape of the F-18 Hornet (from Spain and Switzerland), and the F-16 Fighting Falcon (from Greece, Belgium and Denmark) in the air, and a F-35A (from Italy) on static. European aircraft types included the Gripen (Czech Republic), Rafale (France) and the Typhoon (UK). The Ukrainian Su-27 duo who made a stunning low arrival with their support Il-76 and taxied the length of the taxiway on arrival, much to everyone’s delight.
Appearing for the last time at an airshow before retirement, the Belgian Air Force Sea King performed alongside its replacement, the NH90, on both days providing SAR demonstrations. Making rare appearances at an airshow were an Austrian Alouette III plus Portuguese and Danish EH101 Merlins. The Royal Navy Merlin was not the only British participant as we got a pair of Hawk T2s from RAF Valley. Even if many poeple were highly disapointed , the decision not to incorporate flares in the flying display was therefore rightly taken for safety reasons.
About the Jet Displays, the Swiss F-18, after a steep take-off ; leveled off in a straight positive-G pitch, 90 degrees angle. And this was repeated in the sequence. The F-16 solo display from Denmark was very tightly flown and produced a nice show. The BAF formation of four F-16s shown as “Thunder Tigers” performed a fly-by with a RNLAF KDC-10 tanker on Saturday .
The Belgian Air Force Days 2018 was a successful event, blessed for the most part with good weather and the list of military aircraft would have made most airshows organisations more than jealous. Globalairpower want to thank all the BAF Days 2018 staff for their superb assistance and support during this Show.