Operational Conversion Unit (BAF)

"Vulture" 

OCU "Vulture" (BAF)
Status:
Active
Version: F-16B block 20 MLU
Role:Training
Tailband: N/A
Motto: Semper Vulture (Always a vulture)
Badge: A golden vulture sitting on a red arrow surrounded by a blue circle.

Sideways profile for the OCU in 2005 void of any unit markings.

F-16 History

In the early eighties, pilot conversion and training was setup in the Wings where the aircraft were introduced. After having converted the 1st and 10th Wings, the General Staff concluded that a centralized training syllabus would be far more efficient. In 1987 the Operational Conversion Unit was activated at Beauvechain AB.

The mission of the squadron is to train young graduates coming from basic flight training and to train F-16 pilots in air defense tactics. Other training was still carried out in the squadrons (for example air-to-ground tactics etc). After the temporary installation of the Conversion Improvement Program (CIP) in 1993, the complete training of all F-16 pilots was carried out by the OCU.


BAF F-16B block 5 (original) #FB-07 from the OCU is spotted at Aalborg AB on November 18th, 1997. [Photo by Erik Frikke]

In 1996 the squadron was relocated to the 10th Wing at Kleine Brogel AB. At that time a standardized conversion syllabus was installed which consists of academic courses, around 40 Operational Flight Trainer (OFT) hours and around 100 'advanced' flights. Besides that the squadron also provides re-conversion training of F-16 pilots and Staff personnel as well as the theater conversion of F-16 pilots who return from courses in the US.

Over the years a number of reorganizations took place within the Belgian Air Force. The OCU however never really suffered any hard consequences from those decisions.


BAF F-16B block 5 #FB-08 from the OCU adorned with 'BL' markings at Kleine-Brogel AB in September of 1998. [Photo by Dirk A. Geerts]

Aircraft Markings History

1987 - 1992

A blue tailband with the squadron's logo adorned the F-16s in this timeframe.

1992 - 1995

The tailband was retained but executed in a toned-down format with 'OCU sqn' titles added on each end of the logo. The logo of the 1st Wing was also added on the rudder.

1995 - 1997

The tailband was kept but executed in a gray format and placed lower on the tail. The Belgian flag was moved from the tail center to the top of the rudder with its place being taken by the 'BL' marking of Kleine Brogel AB. This was only a temporary marking that wasn't accepted by the Air Force staff.

1997 - present

All squadron logos of the Belgian F-16s have been removed after the MLU conversion.


Unit History

  • 1987: Activation of the squadron in Beauvechain
  • 1987: F-16B 'Fighting Falcon' (part of 1 Wing)
  • 1996: F-16B 'Fighting Falcon' (part of 10 Wing, Kleine Brogel)
  • 1998: F-16BM 'Fighting Falcon'

F-16 Airframe Inventory

Photos

Errors and Omissions



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