The UK MOD has responded to the Belgian Request for Government Proposal to replace its 54 F-16 multi-role fighters with the most comprehensive international equipment partnership ever offered by a Eurofighter Typhoon partner nation.

The proposal, made on behalf of the Governments of UK, Spain, Italy and Germany, with BAE Systems on behalf of the Eurofighter consortium, will support Belgium’s aspirations for a strong European defence and technology industrial base in which Belgian industry plays a part.

It includes a comprehensive Typhoon proposal underpinned by a long-term defence and security partnership between the United Kingdom and Belgium. The Typhoon is being offered in full partnership with the Royal Air Force, including integration with the UK’s proven, world-leading availability and support service.

It also supports Belgium’s aspirations for a strong European defence and technology industrial base in which Belgian industry plays a part.

The UK Minister for Defence Procurement Harriett Baldwin said: 

I commend Belgium for what is a comprehensive and well-executed competitive process. The UK, supported by Spain, Italy and Germany, has offered Belgium a Government to Government Strategic Partnership, including a long-term relationship with the Royal Air Force.

"Belgium is a country with which the UK has collaborated closely on defence, and indeed particularly on air defence , for more than 70 years. Along with Germany, Spain and Italy we hope to welcome Belgium to be our next European partner. That would mean Belgium joining Europe’s largest collaborative defence programme, further strengthening the security of Europe and our NATO allies,” said the UK Ambassador to Belgium, Alison Rose.

A core element of the proposal is the offer of a unique and comprehensive partnership between the Belgian Air Component (BAC) and the RAF, building on 70 years of history and collaboration between the two air forces. This partnership which would extend to 2058 would deliver both the lowest total cost of ownership and guaranteed capability. Industrially, BAE Systems and the Eurofighter Partner Companies would look to offer Belgium long-term and sustainable opportunities, building on the country's existing defence and aerospace capabilities.

The Eurofighter consortium currently contributes around €600M annually to the Belgium economy supporting more than 200 Belgian companies.

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Harriett Baldwin, UK Minister for Defence Procurement

"To put it simply, we believe our security and defence proposal to Belgium, through Eurofighter Typhoon, is the most complete solution to meet Belgium’s ACCaP requirement. Our offer is a combination of outstanding, proven aircraft capability, through-life cost, with the lowest operating cost per hour of planes in its class, and industrial opportunities, all underpinned by the strengthening of political, security and industrial relationships with the UK, but  also other European partners – Germany, Italy and Spain."

Air Commodore Ian Duguid, the UK Typhoon Force Commander, says the proposed partnership between the RAF and BAC, will include joint exercises, squadron exchange, shared airspace, working "side by side" on pilot and ground crew training and bringing Belgium into the UK's TyTAN support construct.

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Air Commodore Ian Duguid, the UK Typhoon Force Commander

Eurofighter represents a truly European solution; with Typhoon forming backbone of European NATO air power with more than 500 aircraft across Europe.

Industrially, the offer would seek to establish two national development centres – one in the Wallonia region and one in Flanders – and provide the infrastructure, technology and training to accommodate a Belgian National Network Cyber Centre.