Fighter Jet News

F-16 Fighting Falcon News

BAF 31 Squadron unveils 'Blackbird'

September 14, 2009 (by Asif Shamim) - In the presence of a select group of invites and 5 days before the start of the 2009 NATO Tiger Meet, F-16AM #FA-87, callsign "BLACKBIRD" was unveiled in a aircraft shelter near the "Tigerslair' - the dispersal of 31 Squadron.

BAF F-16AM #FA-87 from 31 sqn is seen on its first flight painted in its new 'Blackbird' paint scheme for the NATO Tiger Meet 2009 being held at Kleine Brogel AB. [Photo by Peter 'Patja' Stams]

Kleine Brogel Airbase is hosting the NATO Tiger Meet 2009, which runs from 14-25 September. The exercise is yearly held for all squadrons wearing the 'Tiger' insignia.

As part of the unveiling ceremony F-104G Tiger "Starfighter" FX-52 was brought to Kleine Brogel Airbase and displayed alongside the #FA-87. Both aircraft bear witness the rich history of 31 Squadron since its establishment back in 1951.

The honour of flying the Tiger aircraft on its first flight which took place on September 13th was handed to Cdt aviator Bére Deelkens from the Commanding Officer of 31 Sqn, Jeroen Poesen.

For the first time in the organisations history the Tiger Meet exercise is being spread over a two week period and will gather 65 aircraft and helicopters and 800 crew members from 19 different countries.

The NTM 2009 will therefore be the largest flying exercise in Europe.

Additional images:

NATO Tiger Meet 2009 - Kleine Brogel (large yellow helmet bag patch) [Asif Shamim collection]