Saturday, July 18, 2009

Spotting in the air base of Monte Real

Some photographs of the morning missions during a spotting session in mid-July in the air base of Monte Real. This is the home base for the F-16 fleet from the Portuguese Air Force. This year, the air base of Monte Real celebrates its 50th anniversary. Commemorations include an air show, in 22th of July, which will bring to Portugal the A-7H Coirsair from the Greek Air Force - the last operator worldwide of this historical aircraft that once operated with the Portuguese colors.

Currently, two squadrons operate the F-16 fighter in Monte Real: the 201 Sqn. "Falcões" with the F-16 OCU fleet and the 301 Sqn. "Jaguares" with the modernized F-16 MLU. The OCU cells, received by 1994, are now starting a modernization programme which will bring the entire fleet up to the MLU variant.

A F-16BM fighter from 301 Sqn. arrives from a mission in the Portuguese skies. Notice that the pilot is using the new JHMCS (Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System) and the aircraft is equipped with a Litening AT (Advanced Targeting) targeting pod. The operation of the Litening AT started in 2009 and it has been already used in the international military exercise Real Thaw.

The older but still trustable F-16B from the 201 Sqn. which has an important operational background with a dettachment in the Balkan war in the 1990s and the participation in the well-known Red Flag exercise from the US Air Force.

A Portuguese F-16 fighter from 201 Sqn. in a fly-by above the air base of Monte Real minutes before landing.

Pedro Monteiro

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