60 Years Pampa Range
The NATO shooting range located at the “Donderslagse Heide” at Houthalen-Helchteren or “Pampa” range in military language, celebrated its 60th anniversary on Wednesday 3 July 2013.
Pampa which is administered by the Flying Group of the 10th Wing at
Kleine Brogel is mainly used for dropping practice ordnance and rocket
runs coming in from the East while in Westerly direction strafing runs
using life ammo on targets are trained. Belgian Defence’s DOVO (Dienst
voor Opruiming en Vernietiging van Ontploffingstuigen or Explosive
Ordnance Disposal (EOD)) also uses Pampa range to destroy unexploded
From the military side the visitors could witness a fire-power
demonstration, showing how a target area could be identified by an armed
Agusta A-109BA in collaboration with a Dutch Apache attack helicopter
followed by a pinpoint attack by F-16s of the 10th Wing.
The Pampa Range control tower
Host of the event, Colonel Avi Paul 'Polle' DESAIR - Commander of Kleine Brogel Air Base, during his opening address.
A sight not unlike a Western movie, ... the sheep and sheperds making sure that Pampa remains save and natural.
In spite of appalling weather conditions, the Belgian Air Force's "Red Devils" gave a splendid performance.
Armed Agusta A109BA H-21 identifying the potential target
Ferocious looking Boeing AH-64D Apache attack helicopter of the Koninklijke Luchtmacht in action.
Lockheed F-16AM dropping two inert MK.82 AIR 500 pound bombs modified with a BSU-49/B high drag tail assembly. The "ballute" air bag which deploys from the tail provides a high speed, low altitude delivery capability by quickly slowing the bomb and allowing the aircraft to escape the blast pattern.
The same F-16AM making a strafing run using the fighter's on board M.61 A1 Vulcan 6-barrel 20mm gatling cannon.
Pampa Range Then: A N° 23 Squadron 10th Wing F-84G Thunderjet making a low pass in the summer of 1954.
Pampa Range Now: The Chief of Defence (CHOD) General Avi Gerard Van Caelenberge (l.) making a low pass in Marchetti ST-41.
© Kris Brackx (July 2013)
Last updated 07/11/11 10:59 Daniel Brackx