Belgian Air Component F-16 Fighters Ready for NATO Response Force

An international team from Allied Air Command’s Tactical Evaluation (TACEVAL) division conducted a final assessment at Florennes Air Base declaring the Belgian F-16 fighters ready to for NATO Response Force duties in 2021. The Allied team visited the Belgian Air Base at Florennes on March 25, 2021 to complete the TACEVAL process that was initiated early in 2019 with preparation and evaluation exercises at the home base of Florennes airbase. The objective was to obtain the readiness certification for the entire F-16 capability of the Belgian Air Component to serve under the NATO Response Force or NRF.

Belgian Air Component F-16 Fighters Ready for NATO Response Force
A Belgian F-16 pilot undergoing decontamination at Florennes Air Base during the TACEVAL event. (Photo courtesy Belgian Air Force.)

The certification schedule has been delayed by the protective measures taken against the coronavirus. Consequently, the main exercise initially planned for May 2020 was replaced by a more modular approach compatible with the health situation restrictions. During the final exercise on March 25, the Allied Air Command TACEVAL inspectors tested the pilots’ knowledge and assessed individual responses to Chemical, Biological, Radioactive and Nuclear incidents. A central element was the evaluation of the response capability of the Belgian F-16 Quick Reaction Alert (Intercept) fighters from 1st and 350th Squadrons at Florennes.

Belgian Air Component F-16 Fighters Ready for NATO Response Force
A Belgian F-16 flying over Florennes Air Base, Belgium during the TACEVAL. The fighter aircraft are now ready for NATO Response Force for the next three years.(Photo by Jozef Vanden Broeck.)

Overall, the Allied TACEVAL inspection team assessed the Belgian Air Component F-16 capability to be ready for NRF duties for the next three years. Allied Air Command is NATO’s single command responsible for providing air and space power to the Alliance. The headquarters located in Ramstein, Germany, oversees planning, training, coordination and execution of all Integrated Air and Missile Defence operations within the Alliance’s European area. A special division ensures national air forces’ readiness and compliance with agreed force standards. The TACEVAL programme also highlights an evaluated force’s strengths, identifies areas of concern, makes appropriate recommendations, and ensures that best practices are shared amongst Allies.

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