Belgian Federal Police Air Support Deatchment

 

1953
The Rijkswacht/Gendarmerie performs its first flight operations with the cooperation of the Light Aviation of the Army.  These operations, carried aboard an Auster VI and later a Piper Cub L18C, were only traffic related.  Soon the aircraft were also used for other areas: sporting events, public order, etc.

1968
The Rijkswacht/Gendarmerie buys 6 Alouettes II helicopters (G90 - G95).  At first these are mainly used for aerial observation. G91 crashes after only 3 months of operational service

1973
The Rijkswacht/Gendarmerie takes its first SA330 Puma helicopter in service for transportation duties, firefighting, imaging and support to the Special Intervention Squadron.  At the end of the year the fleet of the Rijkswacht/Gendarmerie at that time consists of 5 Alouettes II and three Puma SA330 (G01 - G03).

1992
A (second-hand) Britton-Norman (Pilatus) BN2T Turbine Islander (G05) is purchased for observation and coordination during large scale police actions  as it can stay in the air longer than the helicopters.

1993
The Air Support Detachment is set up and moves into a shed that will be provided by the Air Force in Melsbroek.  The establishment of the Air Support Detachment at Melsbroek provided the possibility to switch to light aircraft.  Light aircraft are more economical and have a longer range than the helicopters.  The latter in turn provide total other benefits e.g. for certain interventions of the special units.  On November 16, 1993 the Britten Norman Islander is delivered.  The Belgian government orders also three second-hand Cessna.  Both Britten Norman and the Cessna can fly at night and in pretty bad weather.  They have proven invaluable services to include traffic-chaos, mass meetings, searches for missing persons, identifying breaches of environmental laws etc.  Given their advanced age was it quite clear during the 90s that there was a need to replace the aging Puma and Alouettes.  The end-of-life of one of the Pumas and a crash with a second Puma in Lyon (FR) left the former Rijkswacht/Gendarmerie barely one bi-turbine helicopter.  The new helicopters had to be equipped with special observation equipment and cleared for night operations and for safety reasons two engines were required to fly over larger cities.

1994
The 3 Cessna's are delivered. As Puma G02 is still in service they are numbered G01, G03 and G04.  After 4 months of service G03 is written off after it was blown over by the prop wash of a RNlAF C-130.

1997
The first MD900 (G10) is operational with the Air Support Detachment.  This multi-use helicopter was purchased to be the future workhorse of the Air Support.  Equipped with a camera and a high-performance imaging equipment it showed its great operational value during Euro 2000, the European football championship.  The G10 is later that year joined by G11.  A replacement Cessna (G03) is purchased.

1999
The last Alouettes II are taken out of service after thirty years of loyal service and replaced by two new mono-turbine helicopters type MD520 (G14-G15).  Like the MD900 they are also equipped with a notar-system (notar: no tail rotor).

2001
Due to the Police Reform the Rijkswacht/Gendarmerie was demilitarized on January 1st and the Federal Police and it's Air Support Department were created.  An extra MD900/902 comes into service.

2003
Two members of the Air Support Detachment lose their lives in the crash of a Cessna (G03) on the runway at Melsbroek.

2010
The last MD902 (G16) joined the ranks of the Air Support.  This also allows the predecessors (G10, G11 and G12) to undergo major maintenance to prolong their lifespan (Mid Life Update - MLU).  The last MLU (G12) was finished in 2014.

2017
At this moment the Air Support Detachment operates 4 x McDonnell Douglas Explorer 900/902, 2 x McDonnell Douglas 520 and 2 x Cessna C182Q/R Skylane II.

     
 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 
Aircrew Pilot
Aircrew Pilot
 
Aircrew Pilot
   

 

 
   
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