An F-16 fast jet from the Belgian Air Force has become the first international aircraft to be confirmed in the flying display at the inaugural Scampton Airshow in September.
The F-16 Fighting Falcon has been flown by Belgium since 1979. Although its examples are among the oldest still in service, a series of major upgrades mean that they remain very capable fighters.
Two Wings of the country's Air Component operate a total of 54 F-16s, comprised of single-seat F-16AM and two-seat F-16BM (mid-life upgrade) models. They have taken part in coalition air operations over the Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, as well as the Baltic Air Policing initiative.
Paul Sall, Airshow Director, said: "We have already received fantastic support in the UK from the RAF and we're thrilled to see support for the show coming in from beyond these shores.
"We have extended invitations to a number of nations, in Europe and beyond, and are working hard to secure a variety of impressive flying and static aircraft to display throughout the weekend. Belgium is the first overseas Air Force to confirm their attendance in September, and I am looking forward to announcing the involvement of more countries in due course - watch this space!"
The 2017 display aircraft, provided by 31 and 349 Squadrons from the 10th Tactical Wing at Kleine Brogel, will be flown by Cdt Tom 'Gizmo' De Moortel in his third season as the demo pilot. He said: "I'm really looking forward to displaying the power and agility of the F-16 during the Scampton Airshow. 2017 will be my third and final year displaying the Viper for the Belgian Air Force. I've always enjoyed working with the best display team in the world so flying over their home base is a real honor for me. As a display team we really appreciate the warm welcome we get from the UK audience. See you in September!"
The Scampton Airshow, staged in aid of the RAF Charitable Trust at the Lincolnshire home of the Red Arrows, is a diverse, family-friendly event. It will encompass an impressive five-hour flying display, complemented by an array of entertainment on the ground, from a nostalgic Vintage Village through to interactive and engaging STEM exhibits in the Techno Zone.
Paul Sall added: "We are putting together what's shaping up to be a truly spectacular show, with a real family feel. The wide variety of 'on-the-ground' activities, mixed with what's happening in the air, means there will be something for everyone. The Scampton Airshow will see guests from across the central and north of England, as well the traditional support from 'RAF Lincolnshire' - this is shaping up to be the premier outdoor event in the area. I look forward to welcoming our international guests in style and showing them what Scampton and Lincolnshire has to offer!"
Tickets for the Scampton Airshow are priced at £39 and must be bought online in advance. Inspiring the next generation of aviation enthusiasts, tickets for under 16s are free with a ticket holding adult. To find out more about the Scampton Airshow, or to buy your tickets, please visit www.scamptonairshow.com.