|European Partnership of Air Force Associations|
The steering committee of the European Partnership of Air Force Associations (EPAA) held its fourth meeting at Florennes airbase, Belgium, on 6 October 2006. The EPAA was founded on 30 May 2003 in Viareggio, Italy, on the initiative of the president of the Associazone Arma Aeronautica, retired Air Force General Silvio Mollicone. Belgium, France and Germany joined this initiative as founding nations.
The EPAA aims at uniting European Air Force associations that are willing to undersign the partnership’s desire to promote the concept of European security and defence among its citizens in general and its youth in particular. Members should also strive to maintain and highlight the European aviators’ history and traditions.
During its meeting at Florennes, the steering committee examined the application for membership of the Air Force associations of Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Romania and Slovakia. The Czech Republic and Romania were accepted as full members because of their already long-term contacts with the Partnership, while Bulgaria and Slovakia were admitted as observing members.
The Belgian members of the EPAA are the Nationale vereniging van oudgediende- en reserveofficieren van de Luchtmacht (NAVORO – LuM) / Association nationale des officiers de réserve et anciens officiers de la Force Aérienne (ASNORA – FAé) and the Nationale vereniging van reserveonderofficieren en oudgediende officieren van de Luchtmacht (NVROO – LuM) / Association nationale des sous-officiers de réserve et des anciens sous-officiers de la Force Aérienne (ANSORA – FAé).
In the margins of this meeting, the EPAA-members were informed about the capabilities of the Belgian Lockheed-Martin F-16AM aircraft and its armament. A number of weapons were displayed for the first time, although some of them are in the inventory of the Air Component since a couple of years.
The Lockheed Martin Laser Guided Training Round (LGTR) is an 88.85 lb (40.3 kg) training version of the 500 lb Raytheon GBU-12 Paveway II laser guided bomb. Like the original, the 4 inch (101 mm) diameter and 6 feet 3 inch (1.9 m) long LGTR is equipped with a functional laser seeker and moving forward control surfaces.
The Raytheon GBU-24A/B Paveway III laser guided bomb is built around the BLU-109 ammunition with a hardened steel case giving it a high-penetration capability. The 14.5 inch (370 mm) diameter and 14 feet 2 inch (4.31 m) long bomb weighs 2,348 lb (1,066 kg) and is mainly aimed for use against high value hardened underground constructions.
The Mk. 82 has been the standard low-drag general-purpose 500 lb bomb for many western air forces for long and exists in different versions. Seen in front is a BSU49 equipped with a retarding ballute (balloon + parachute) and fitted with a barometric proximity fuse. A proximity fuse detonates the bomb before it reaches the ground, rendering it more effective against soft surface targets. The two other bombs are fitted with contact fuses. The Mk. 82 in the background is the basic slick low-drag version.
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Text and pictures by
© Jos Schoofs (October 2006)
Last updated 05/08/08 18:11 Daniel Brackx