Dassault-Breguet-Dornier (AMD) Alpha Jet 1B

On September 13th, 1973 the Belgian government decided to purchase 33 Dassault-Breguet/Dornier Alpha Jet 1B trainingjets to replace the ageing Lockheed T-33A T-Bird and the Fouga CM170R Magister. A Letter of Intent was signed in october 1973, as was the final purchase contract in september 1975.
The first Alpha Jet for the Belgian Air Force was equally the 5th productionaircraft build at Dassault-Breguet. All remaining Alpha Jets were build by SABCA at Gosselies and were taken on charge by No 7 and 11 Squadron of 'Ecole de Pilotage Avancé/Voortgezette Vliegopleidingsschool (EPA/VVS)' (Advanced Flying School) at Brustem airbase.
On July 1st, 1984 the EPA/VVS was renamed 'Wing O&TE', which again changed name on September 1st, 1987 when it became 9 Wing Training.
Initially the Alpha Jets were painted in 'Vietnam'-style camouflage, augmented by some orange or dayglo panels to improve visibility, but in June 1993 the first aircraft in a new overall grey colorscheme started to appear.
During a first reorganisation in the mid 90s, during which all the Belgian Air Force training assets were consolidated under 1 Wing Training, the Alpha Jets moved from Brustem to Beauvechain on November 18th, 1996.
Since 2000 all remaining Alpha Jets 1B underwent a modernisation programme which focused on the upgrading of the existing avionics to more advanced ones.
Early 2004 it was revealed that the Belgian Air Force and the French 'Armée de l'Air' were to collaborate closely in the advanced training of their future jet pilots and since September 15th, 2005 all Belgian Alpha Jets are based at Cazaux (France).
11 Squadron was disbanded, but its traditions were taken over by Escadrille 2/8 'Nice' at Cazaux as part of the 'Advanced Jet Training School' (AJeTS).

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