|Belgian Defence Days 2008 presentation|
During the weekend of 5 and 6 July 2008, the 7th edition of the Belgian Defence Days will take place at Florennes Airbase, home of the 2nd Tactical Wing. This event, however, will not be an Air Component only event, but a joint effort to show the public what Defence is standing for nowadays: high technology, professionalism, diversity and four components, joint in operations. A weekend not to miss.
Lieutenant-General Oger Pochet, Vice-Chief of Defence: “The Defence Days will be an occasion for the public to rediscover the Belgian Defence in all its aspects. It wants to underline the collaboration between the different components, especially during operations. The Belgian Defence is at present operational on six “fronts”. Most of these operations take place abroad: in Afghanistan, Chad, Kosovo, Lebanon and Congo. On the sixth front, the home front, Defence is operational 24/7. Just think about the duty ships protecting the sea lanes of the North Sea, the SAR-helicopters standby to rescue people in distress, the military hospital open for severely burnt civilians and military, but also about all servicemen and -women always ready to lend a helping hand when the nation needs it most, like during the recent flooding in the eastern part of the country.
Colonel Alain Renard, Commanding Officer of the 2nd Tactical Wing: “We want to show the Belgian Defence in all its diversity: diversity in equipment, missions, jobs and people. We will do that through an air show, dynamic demonstrations and a static show.”
On the programme of the air show are not only solo displays of numerous types of aircraft ranging from the F-16 to the P-51, from the Lynx to the Sea King and from the Marchetti to the B-52, but also three presentations by aerobatic teams in a single weekend: the Patrouille de France (only on Sunday), the Breitling Jet Team and the Turkish Stars (which will stay the entire week at Florennes).
Three joint demonstrations will underline the joint capabilities of the different components of the Belgian Defence. During a Hostage Rescue, ground troops of the Land Component and Agusta A.109BA helicopters of the Air Component will collaborate to free a person held hostage in a building. A Rapid Fire Action will demonstrate how a 105 mm calibre howitzer can be brought in by air and made operational in no time. Non Combatant Evacuation Operations require ground troops to secure a landing zone, to bring together the non combatants and to escort them to the aircraft that bring them to safety. In the meantime, helicopters and combat jets guided by forward air controllers secure the area from the air, while medical personnel is ready to intervene should its care be needed.
The static show will consist of around 60 military and civil aircraft. The No. 1 Squadron area is dedicated to large aircraft like the Sentry, Atlantic, Hercules and Curl. Combat jet size aircraft will be parked on the TLP platform. The hangar itself will house booths of among others aeronautical companies, schools and charity institutions. The shelter area east of the TLP platform is reserved for helicopters, while most Belgian aircraft, helicopters and UAVs will find a spot on the parallel runway. Along the parallel runway, a zone of over 1 kilometre long is dedicated to the Land Component with its equipment and with numerous booths presenting units, capabilities, missions, etc. The southern taxiway is reserved for demos of vehicles, equipment, CBRN-material, etc., but will also be the area for civil aircraft and recreational stands.
Florennes is a large and very beautiful airbase. The flying activities can be observed from nearby on the parallel runway, but the geographic relief also allows overlooking all movements from a distance. Access and parking are free. A programme brochure will be available for 3 euro. For more information, have a look at http://www.mil.be/defdays/
The Belgian Defence Days 2008 in a nutshell:
- more than 80,000 visitors expected
- 80,000 pairs of earplugs
- 20,000 parking spots for cars
- 11,000 metres of fences
- 2,500 metres of booths
- 1,600 meals per day
- 1,300 military and civilian organisers
- 400 aircrew
- 200 open air booths
- 60 static aircraft
- 56 covered booths
- 28 flying aircraft
- 12 catering areas
- 9 public conveniences areas
- 3 joint demos
- 3 aerobatic teams
- 3 entries for the public
- 1 children’s area
- 1 big party
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Text and pictures by
© Jos Schoofs (June 2008)
Last updated 26/06/08 10:29 Daniel Brackx