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End of mission for the six Belgian F-16 fighter jets engaged in Iraq to fight the Islamic State

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World Defense & Security News - Belgium
 
 
 
End of mission for the six Belgian F-16 fighter jets engaged in Iraq to fight the Islamic State
 
Six Belgian F-16s sent to the Middle East to combat the Islamic State (IS) in September 2014 returned home on Thursday. The six F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter aircraft had started Desert Falcon mission on September 24, 2014, and since then conducted almost 300 strikes in Iraq from their base in Jordan.
     
Six Belgian F-16s sent to the Middle East to combat the Islamic State (IS) in September 2014 returned home on Thursday. The six F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter aircraft had started Desert Falcon mission on September 24, 2014, and since then conducted almost 300 strikes in Iraq from their base in Jordan. One of the six Belgian F-16s deployed in Jordan to help in fight against IS
(Belgian Ministry of Defense)
     
"We led the daily missions generally between Belgian pilots and sometimes with other coalition partners," said an undisclosed Belgian pilot. "The flights lasted about five hours each, day and night. This alternation was being felt but there were enough times set to rest," he added. "The pilots were constantly kept informed of activities [...] published by the IS on social media," said the pilot.

The ministry of defense has no budget for Belgian air strikes in Iraq beyond June 30, 2015. However, the Belgian government has not ruled out undertaking specific missions within the international coalition against IS, possibly alternating with the Netherlands in 2016. According to Belgian media, the return on the Iraqi front is already programmed. The F-16 will again be engaged in the region between July 2016 and June 2017 as part of a cooperation that is taking place with the Netherlands.


The six combat aircraft served by 120 Belgian soldiers were operating from a secret base near the town of al-Azraq in Jordan. Thirty Belgian instructors will remain based in Iraq to pursue an Iraqi army training mission.