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Protecting NATO airspace: Belgium laid new CRC center first stone

World Aviation Defense & Security News - Belgium
Protecting NATO airspace: Belgium laid new CRC center first stone
By Nathan Gain

On November 7, the Belgian Defense Ministry launched the construction of a new Control & Reporting Center (CRC) at the BAF Beauvechain Air Base. According to an official statement, the CRC will be fully operational starting 2019.
Protecting NATO airspace Belgium laid new CRC center first ston 640 001An artist's rendering of the BAF future CRC center at Beauvechain AB
(Credit: Belgian MoD)
The new control center will replace the actual CRC center in Glons (Liège), which opened its doors in 1955 and currently employs 300 persons. End of the construction work, for which the Belgian MoD invests 7.5 million euros, is planned for the end of 2018. The CRC should have broken ground in 2014, but lack of funds blocked the project until today.

"Finally, here we are,"said the Belgian Defense Minister Steven Vandeput in his welcome address. "Implementation of this new CRC building has been long awaited. Between dream and reality, limited budgets, laws and practical objections were interfering again. Now everything is cleared."

The future CRC will provide 24/7 surveillance and protection within Belgium and Luxembourg airspaces. The Belgian CRC has become indispensable following the September 11 2001 attacks. It contributes in securing potentially threatened events and sites, such as nuclear power plants, European or NATO summits.

In 2017 alone, there were 21 incidents. In five cases, the Belgian F-16 fighter jets had to take to the skies. “Sometimes, it can be a radio failure or an airplane that flies outside air lanes,” said the Belgian Air Component commander, the Major General Fred Vansina.

Following a technical agreement signed on December 21 2016, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg began on Jan. 1st a Benelux air policing mission within their common airspace.