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World Defense & Security News - Belgium
 
 
Belgium lower house approved RFP for F-16 fighters fleet replacement
 
By Nathan Gain

Belgium will start retiring its fleet of fighter jets from 2023. By 2028, all 54 remaining F-16 AM/BM jets currently in service will have left the Belgian inventory. For months, the Belgian Air Force, the Belgian Air Force has been pushing for the “Request For Government Proposal” (RFP) promised by the Belgian government. 
According to Belgian public broadcasting organization RTBF, the long-awaited RFP has been finally approved today by the country’s Chamber of Representatives.
     
Belgium lower house approved RFP for F 16 fighters fleet replacement 640 001Belgium's 54 remaining F-16 fighter jets will be replaced by 2028
(Credit: Belgian Ministry of Defense)
     
Belgium approved in last December the purchase of 34 new fighter aircraft to be acquired from Spring 2018 for an amount of 3,573 billion euros. The RFP should now be sent to the companies bidding for this program.

Five platforms are competing: Lockheed Martin’s F-35 stealth fighter, the F/A-18 from Boeing, the Rafale from Dassault Aviation, the Eurofighter Typhoon proposed by the eponym European consortium, and the JAS 39 Gripen manufactured by the Swedish company Saab.

In May 2016, General Alexander Schnitger suggested on Flemish TV channel VRT that Belgium purchase the same type of aircraft selected by the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) – the F-35 Lightning II – to create a joint Dutch-Belgian air force. On Jan. 1st 2017, the Dutch and Belgian F-16 fighter jets, along with Luxembourg, started joint air policing of all three nations’ airspace.