Change of Command at the Belgian Air Component



   After slightly more than 5 years, Lieutenant General Claude Van de Voorde, the Belgian Air Component Commander has transferred his responsibilities to Major General Frederik Vansina.

In an emotional ceremony organised at Florennes airbase on 5 November 2014 in the presence of the Minister of Defence, the Chief of Defence and a large public, Claude Van de Voorde said goodbye to the numerous collaborators and friends who assisted him in fulfilling his important task as Commander of the Air Force. Claude Van de Voorde becomes Director of Operations at the Cabinet of the new Minster of Defence Steven Vandeput (NV-A).


Lieutenant General Claude Van de Voorde was born at Zelzate on 10 March 1962. He joins the Royal Military Academy at the age of 18 to graduate four years later with a Master's degree in Military and Social Sciences. In 1985 he obtains his pilot's wings and in 1986 he becomes a member of the famous N° 31 "Tiger" Squadron at Kleine Brogel Airbase.

Lt Gen Claude Van de Voorde

The young Lt Claude Van de Voorde of N° 31 Squadron posing in front of F-16A FA-78 at Kleine Brogel Airbase on 29 August 1987.


During his period with N° 31 Squadron Claude Van de Voorde participates in several international exercises and deployments such as the Tactical Leadership Porgramme (TLP), Red Flag, Very Low level Flying in Morocco and in the mean time also qualifies as Fighter Weapon Instructor after an intensive course in Norway.

After completing Staff College in 1994 he serves as a staff officer at the Tactical Air Force Headquarters and is appointed CO of n° 31 Squadron in 1998. During this period he participates in several operations in the Balkans in the framework of operation "Allied Force".

In 2003 he is in charge of long-term planning for the newly created "Air Component" within the new single joint defence structure. Promoted Colonel, Claude Van de Voorde is appointed military advisor to the Belgian delegation within NATO where he acts as Belgian representative in the field of armament and nuclear policy.

After attending the Senior Course at the NATO Defence College in Rome, Van de Voorde becomes the Commanding Officer of the 10th Tactical Wing at Kleine Brogel.

Claude van de Voorde

         Lieutenant General Claude Van de Voorde emotionally takes leave from his collaborators and friends.

On 21 July 2009 Major General Claude Van de Voorde is appointed Air Component Commander.

In 2012 he also assumes for a period of two years the chairmanship of the Military Air Transport Committee within the EATC (European Air Transport Command). In December 2013 Claude van de Voorde is promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General.

The new Air Component Commander Major General Frederik Vansina.

Fred Vansina was born in Bern, Switzerland on 3 June 1964. He joins the 123rd Promotion "All Weapons" of the Royal Army Academy, which he successfully concludes. He obtained his pilot wings at Brustem airbase at the end of 1988. He joins N° 350 Fighter Squadron at the Beauvechain based 1st Wing and participates in numerous exercises and deployments such as the Tactical Leadership Porgramme (TLP), Red Flag and Very Los Level Flying training in Morocco.

After successfully completing the Majors Course, he returns to N° 350 Squadron as Operations Officer in 1995. In 1996 Major Vansina joins the Plans and Programs Division of the Air Force where he is responsible for various Air Force investment programs dealing with fighter and trainer aircraft.

In 2000 he is appointed Commanding Officer of N° 349 Fighter Squadron and takes part in the operations "Joint Forge and Joint Guardian" over the Balkans as Chief of Operations within the mixed Belgian-Dutch detachment based at Amendola, Italy.

Promoted Lieutenant Colonel he is posted to the strategy Division of the Joint Staff and conducts studies on the future of the tactical air capability.

        Colonel Frederik "Fred" Vansina aboard the Belgian Navy Frigate Louise Marie (F931) on 30 October 2008

In 2005 he is appointed commander of the 10th Tactical Wing Flying Group. In 2007 he becomes commander of the COMPOPSAIR Operations Division.

On 1 September 2009 Colonel Vansina assumes command of the 10 Tactical Wing. During his command the Wing participates in air operations over Afghanistan in support of ISAF and over Libya as part of Operation "Unified Protector".
After completing the Senior Course of the NATO Defence College in Rome Vansina becomes Chief of Staff of the Belgian Air Component.

As of March 26th 2013, Major General Vansina is appointed Deputy Operations to the Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations and Training and on 5 November 2014 he is appointed Belgian Air Component Commander.

Major General Frederik Vansina

The new Air Component Commander Major General Frederik Vansina.


Four F-16's saluting the "old" and "new" Air Component Commanders.





© Daniel Brackx (November 2014)






Last updated 07/11/11 10:59   Daniel Brackx