Conversion from F-16s to F-35 Jets for Belgian Air Force Technicians

Lockheed Martin rolled out first F-35 for Belgium in Dec. 2023
  • Defensemirror.com bureau
  • 07:57 AM, February 15, 2024
  • 2193
Conversion from F-16s to F-35 Jets for Belgian Air Force Technicians
Belgian technicians transition from F-16s to F-35 Jets @Belgian MoD

Belgian F-16 technicians have initiated a conversion program to adapt their expertise to the F-35A, marking a pivotal shift for the Belgium Air Force.

A new generation of Belgian F-35 technicians and instructors commenced their training at Eglin Air Force Base in the United States after departing from Florennes Air Base, indicating a significant step in Belgium's air defense modernization.

After thorough preparation in Belgium, seasoned F-16 technicians embarked on the conversion program centered at Lockheed Martin's F-35 Academic Training Center. The training encompasses a comprehensive curriculum, interactive sessions on individual computer simulators, and hands-on experience with full-scale models.

Conversion from F-16s to F-35 Jets for Belgian Air Force Technicians
Belgian F-35A

The center provides instruction from experienced professionals with over 25 years of experience, offering a unique opportunity for Belgian Air Component technicians to refine their skills.

A select group of specialists will continue their training with hands-on experience on the F-35A at Luke Air Force Base in Phoenix, Arizona, preparing for the arrival of Belgium's first F-35 aircraft.

Over the next few years, 120 Belgian technicians are slated to undergo conversion training in the United States, representing a crucial step in the modernization of Belgium's air defense capabilities.

Belgium officially joined the F-35 program in October 2018, becoming the 13th nation globally to do so. In the same year, the U.S. State Department approved a $6.5 billion deal for the sale of 34 F-35 fighters to Brussels, facilitating the upgrade of Belgium's aging F-16 fleet. The plan involves acquiring a total of 34 F-35As, with the initial deployment scheduled for the next year at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, a recognized hub for international F-35 pilot and maintainer training.

Conversion from F-16s to F-35 Jets for Belgian Air Force Technicians

In December 2023, Lockheed Martin presented Belgium's first F-35A Lightning II during a rollout ceremony at their F-35 production facility, representing a significant advancement in Belgium's defense capabilities.

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