The SIAI-Marchetti SF.260 was developed by Italy in the early 1960s as a light aircraft and has found favour with a number of military operators as a trainer with aerobatic capabilities. Currently in service with 20 militaries around the world, over 870 SF.260s have been produced to date. The SF.260 has been produced in both piston and turboprop versions with a number of retired examples finding their way in to civilian ownership. The type has appeared on film on numerous occasions having appeared in BBC's Top Gear and most notably an SF.260 is used to "shoot down" James Bond's Dakota in 2008's Quantum of Solace.
The Belgian Air Force has operated the SF.260M since 1969 and currently operates a fleet of 45 aircraft which have been upgraded to the SF.260M+ standard which included new wings and a modernised cockpit. The SF.260 also equips the Red Devils display team which performs throughout Europe each year. The competition to eventually replace the SF.260 in Belgian service has now begun and a replacement could potentially be in service by the end of 2023.
A single SF.260 from the Belgian Air Force's 1st Wing at Beauvechain Air Base will be appearing on static display at this year's Air Tattoo. This may be one of the final times that a Belgian Air Force example will attend RIAT.
Photo Credit: Peter Reoch
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