#1449 F-16AM

F-16AM
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£10.00 €11.25 $12.35
43.8 cm x 29.2 cm
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Print
F-16AM Fighting Falcon
FA70
349 Sqn
Kleine Brogel
Belgium - Air Force
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Description

Squadron Prints Lithograph No. 1449 - FA70, F-16AM, 349 (F) Squadron, 10 Wing Tac, Kleine Brogel Air Base. No. 349 (Belgian) Squadron was established in November 1942 as a Belgian unit of the Royal Air Force. Its first home was Ikeja in Nigeria, where it flew the P-40 Tomahawk to counter possible attacks by the German Afrika Korps against Allied troops in Central Africa. In June 1943 the Squadron moved to RAF Wittering in the United Kingdom. Flying the Supermarine Spitfire, 349 Squadron took part in several operations to liberate Europe, the most famous being Operation Overlord which was launched on 6 June 1944. During World War II the unit flew hundreds of operational sorties from 26 different airfields across Western Europe, and achieved a total of 15 air-to-air kills. In 1946 the Squadron was transferred to the newly formed Belgian Air Force on home soil and established itself at Beauvechain Air Base as part of the 1st Fighter Wing, eventually becoming an integral part of NATO’s Air Defence umbrella of Western Europe. During its tenure at Beauvechain, the unit flew the Gloster Meteor, Hawker Hunter, Avro Canada CF100 Canuck and Lockheed F-104 Starfighter. In 1979 the Squadron began to convert to the Lockheed Martin (then General Dynamics) F-16 Fighting Falcon and it became NATO’s first operational squadron to fly the type in 1980. 349 Squadron was transferred to the 10th Tactical Wing at Kleine Brogel in 1996, and was the first Belgian unit to convert to the F-16 Mid Life Update (MLU) in 1998. The unit has deployed to numerous theatres of operation over the last 25 years. Part of the Belgian-Dutch Deployable Air Task Force, 349 Squadron was sent to Italy in the late 1990’s in support of NATO-led operations against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia during the Kosovo War. In March 2004 the unit undertook the first NATO Baltic Air Policing (BAP) detachment to Lithuania. The following year the Squadron was deployed to Afghanistan for the first time, flying out of Kabul to provide airborne security during the country’s first presidential elections. Leading the Belgian Air Force’s commitment, 349 Squadron was again flying missions over Afghanistan in 2008, this time as part of Operation Guardian Falcon. Flying from Kandahar Air Base, it supported ISAF ground troops during efforts to stabilise the country, and continued to do so up until October 2014 when the operation ended. Meanwhile, the unit took part in several other BAP detachments to Lithuania as well as deployments to Poland and Estonia. In 2011 global instability took the Squadron to Greece, flying alongside other NATO Nations as part of Operation Odyssey Dawn and Unified Protector over Libya, and was once again at the spearhead of the nation’s offensive airborne capability. More recently, in September 2014, under the code name Operation Desert Falcon, the Squadron deployed to the Middle East as part of Belgium’s contribution to the multi-national coalition to liberate Iraq and Syria from terrorist insurgency.

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