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Belgian Air Force Unexpectedly Cancels F-16 Solo Display Team

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F-16 Solo Display Team

The service decided to cancel the 2024 season and focus on the transition to the F-35.

The Belgian Air Force unexpectedly announced on Feb. 19, 2024, that the F-16 Solo Display Team will not be renewed for the 2024 season. The news is a complete change of direction from the post where the service announced the new season mentioning “Counting the months until the new Air show Season!” with a photo of the Team’s F-16.

The service posted a brief statement on its social media accounts, mentioning that they instead actively initiated the transition to the F-35 and the phase-out of the F-16, which is near the end of its service life. “Our recent involvement in training Ukrainian pilots has mobilized a significant portion of our resources,” further mentions the statement. “Our primary focus now is on training our fighter pilots, fulfilling our operational commitments, and transitioning to the F-35A.”

In the last two years, the Solo Display Team was assigned a special color F-16, nicknamed “Dream Viper”, piloted during airshows across Europe by Senior Captain Steven ‘Vrieske’ De Vries. The “Dream Viper” livery, which also won the Most Spectacular Colour Scheme at the Royal International Air Tattoo 2022, was created before the beginning of the 2022 airshow season by a collaboration of Captain De Vries and Nico De Boeck.

During the 2024 airshow season the F-16 Solo Display Team planned to celebrate the F-16’s 50th anniversary and 45 years of F-16 in Belgium. In their separate statement, the team added that this decision is out of their control and more information and details will follow in due time.

Stefano D’Urso is a freelance journalist and contributor to TheAviationist based in Lecce, Italy. A graduate in Industral Engineering he’s also studying to achieve a Master Degree in Aerospace Engineering. Electronic Warfare, Loitering Munitions and OSINT techniques applied to the world of military operations and current conflicts are among his areas of expertise.

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