Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The portuguese F-16 fleet

Monte Real is the home of the portuguese F-16 fleet. The F-16 OCU fleet, received in 1994, is operated by the 201 Squadron "Falcões". The other unit is the 301 Squadron "Jaguares", which operates the modern F-16 MLU fleet.
Both units are often present in national and international military exercises. More recently, they took part in the NATO Air Defense Mission "Baltics Air Policing 07 (November-December 2007) 3000 kilometers away from Monte Real. There, they have assured the vigilance, control and reaction to a potential hostile act to the sovereignty of the three Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania), inclunding with aicrafts in Quick Reaction Alert (QRA).

A helmet of a special very special "pilot" of the Portuguese Air Force. In fact, this helmet was offered to the President of the Republic during his visit to Monte Real [click to enlarge].

A F-16B OCU from the 201 Sqn. ready for another mission with the RNLAF fighters [click to enlarge].

The impressive take-off of a RNLAF F-16MLU fighter with full after-burner. During our visit, the RNLAF squadrons 322 and 323 were at Monte Real training with the portuguese Vipers [click to enlarge].

I have visited the two squadrons with Juan Carlos Pando (you can check his website here) last February as part of an article for the magazine Fuerzas Militares del Mundo.

Pedro Monteiro

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