North American AT-6 Harvard/Texan
Single engine two seat advanced training and fire assistance aircraft.
The total number of Harvard's of different types and sources used by the Belgian Air Force amounted at 148 machines. One could add to these some 14 aircraft which were used as spare parts resources and ten Harvard’s leased from the Dutch Air Force (Nederlandse Luchtstrijdkrachten or LSK later KLu) to help out with a temporarily shortage on aircraft in 1948/1949. As of 1947 a first large order of 46 former-“lend lease” Harvard IIA and Mk.III were ordered together with ten aircraft purely used to proved spare parts, from RAF stocks. Although many of these aircraft already had served with three air forces, most of them had only little flying time. They only were active with the South-African Air Force in the framework of the “Commonwealth Training Program” during WWII and were only assigned to the USAAC and the RAF on paper. Originating from different sources, 32 AT-6’s of subtypes MK.IIB and MK.III were later acquired. These Harvard’s had served with the Dutch LSK, others with the RAF or came from civil companies such as Intair and Rollason. The Americans delivered 46 more AT-6D’s and Harvard 4, while 24 former RAF Harvard’s IIA from the training base of Bulawayo in Rhodesia were shipped to the Belgian Air Force base at Kamina (Belgian Congo). This mixture of models was standardised and were needed upgraded by the Belgians to what was called Harvard 4K, which was very similar to the Harvard 4. In 1959 sixteen Harvard’s based initially at Kamina received an armament which consisted of two 7.62 calibre machineguns, two Alcan 261 bomb racks and two rocket launchers Matra 13. These aircraft which were designated 4KA (“A” for armée/armed) and were grouped in new units called (Vuursteunflights/Flights Appui Feu or Fire Assistance Flights) These FAF’s were successfully used during the Congolese rebellion in July 1960. The last pilot training on Harvard took place in mid-1960 after which advanced training was done on the new Fouga Magister. Between 1960 and 1962 only a handful of armed Harvard’s 4KA remained in used in Rwanda and Burundi