The Belgian Air Component (Air Force) B-Hunter UAV is now officially retired from service. On August 28, 2020, a small ceremony took place at Florennes Air Base to commemorate this event and to thank the 80 Squadron for the many years of dedication. The 80th UAV Squadron (Dutch: 80 UAV Eskadron) is a squadron in the Air Component of the Belgian Armed Forces. It is dedicated to unmanned aerial vehicles or UAVs. It is organised like a wing and consists of a Flight Group, a Maintenance Group and a Support Group.
The IAI RQ-5 Hunter unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) was originally intended to serve as the United States Army’s Short Range UAV system for division and corps commanders. It took off and landed (using arresting gear) on runways. It used a gimbaled EO/IR sensor to relay its video in real time via a second airborne Hunter over a C-band line-of-sight data link. The RQ-5 is based on the Hunter UAV that was developed by Israel Aerospace Industries.
In 1998, the Belgian Air Component purchased three B-Hunter UAV-systems, each consisting of six aircraft and two ground control stations. Operational from 2004 in the 80 UAV Squadron, 13 aircraft were in service in 2020.The current B-Hunter has low availability and no longer meets the standards and requirements of current operational theatres. The last Hunter was withdrawn from Belgian service on 28 August 2020, to be replaced by the MQ-9B SkyGuardian.