Belgian Air Force's B-Hunter UAVs now used for border protection

World Aviation Defense & Security News - Belgium
Belgian Air Force's B-Hunter UAVs now used for border protection
By Nathan Gain

Belgium’s fleet of military drones will now be authorized to support customs missions on Belgian borders, the Belgian Defense Ministry announced on Wednesday. An agreement was signed on May 17 by the country’s minister of Defense Steven Vandeput and minister of Finance Johan Van Orteveldt.
(Credit: Ministry of Defense of Belgium)
The BAG Hunter-B UAVs may now be deployed for research missions focused on drugs, weapons, and money traffics.

One of the main advantages is to have an expanded geographical coverage,” said Thierry Piraux, Director of Customs Operations. “Our UAV can fly over border zones within an operational ceiling of 2-2.5 km. It is completely invisible,” explained the BAF Major Fabrice Leroy.

The Belgian Air Force (BAF) currently operates a fleet of 13 B-Hunter UAVs purchased from Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) in 2004. They have been deployed in EU operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Bosnia. They were also used in the Belgian airspace to detect pollution in the North Sea and to prevent terrorist acts in the port of Antwerp.

But the Belgian fleet of Hunter-Bs, based in Florennes within the BAF 80th UAV Squadron, are to be replaced with two MALE UAVs by 2025 for $200 million. Belgium also plans to allocate $390 million for the purchase of up to 4 additional MALE UAVs in 2029-2030.