Belgian Air Component F-16A MLU Fighting Falcon
Today's Belgian Air Component operates a rather smaller force of F-16 Fighting Falcons than did the former Belgian Air Force, but these are now true multi-role aircraft as opposed to pure fighters thanks in no small part to the MLU (Mid-Life Upgrade) programme begun in the 1990s. Belgium ordered an original 116 F-16s as part of a huge deal for the type that also involved Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway; a follow-on order took the fleet to 160. Of those, 54 aircraft now remain in active service with two wings. Belgian F-16s have taken part in coalition air operations over the Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, as well as the Baltic Air Policing initiative. The 2016 display aircraft, sporting a spectacular colour scheme dubbed 'Blizzard', is provided by 31 and 349 Squadrons from the 10th Tactical Wing at Kleine Brogel, and flown (in his second season as the demo pilot) by Cdt Tom 'Gizmo' De Moortel.