The Return of the Red Lion


When the 10th Wing of the Belgian Air Force was created in November 1951, it was temporarily based at Chièvres Air Base, near the city of Mons, pending allocation of a definitive home base. This became Kleine-Brogel from February 1953 onwards. The Wing soon adopted a blue shield with a red lion as unit badge. The blue colour referred to the Air Force, while the Red Lion was derived from the coat of arms of the Province of Limburg, in which the airbase was located. Since then, the insignia adorned all types of aircraft operated by the 10th Wing: Republic F-84E/G Thunderjet, Republic F-84F Thunderstreak, Lockheed T-33A T-Bird, Lockheed (T)F-104G Starfighter and Lockheed Martin F-16A/B Fighting Falcon. It came in disuse for some years, when the Air Force
in the late 1990s decided to adopt American style tail markings derived from the ICAO codes for the air bases of Florennes (EBFS) and Kleine-Brogel (EBBL). Applied on a dozen or so aircraft as a test, the FS and BL markings, however, did not catch on well and slowly but surely disappeared. Late April 2007, the 10th Wing reintroduced the old unit badge of the Red Lion on a blue shield, albeit in a somewhat more sophisticated form with light reflecting on the shield. It was applied to F-16AM FA-69 as a try-out.


Lockheed Martin F-16AM FA-69 is the first aircraft of the 10th Tactical Wing carrying again its unit badge consisting of a red lion on a blue shield. The aircraft is seen here returning to its home base after a QRA training scramble on 26 April 2007. It is armed with a pair of good-for-war Raytheon AIM-9M Sidewinders and Raytheon AIM-120 AMRAAMs.

 Text and picture by

© Jos Schoofs (April 2007)

Last updated 30/04/07 18:04   Daniel Brackx