1/72 Heller Alpha Jet + 

by Rob Haelterman


Silly Week 2006


Belgian Air Force 2003   1/72 Sctachbuilt conversion of Heller Alpha Jet



In the late 1990, this author was a technical officer at the 1 Wing, Belgian Air Force, at Beauvechain/Bevekom Air Force Base, Belgium. At that time Sabca had just completed the first upgraded Alpha Jet for the BAF, which was called the Alpha Jet + or Alpha Jet PDM (“Plan de maintenance” – maintenance plan, as this went down easier with budget planners at the staff).

For reasons best understood by themselves at that time, the Air Force authorities decided that the remainder of the fleet was to be modified in house at 1 Wing, and not at Sabca. The motives soon became clear to the technicians at hangar B28. While the PDM officially only saw the replacement of old avionics, and addition of some navigation equipment, it allowed the modifications to be hidden from the general public, or worse, the government, which would never have accepted an expansion of the fighting power of the BAF, much to the dismay of the Generals.

9 Squadron (1 Wing) was composed of a large number of ex F-16 pilots, made redundant by the recent budget cuts, and they persuaded the Base Commander to exert some pressure on the Technical Group and the bookkeepers in order to do some “overenthusiastic upgrading”.

What resulted was a single seat Alpha Jet with wing tip launchers for Matra Mica missiles and a Fiar Grifo radar.

Needless to say, this could not be kept secret for long, and the official authorities were enraged when they discovered the truth. The one-off prototype was “un-modified” at once, and – coincidence or not – a year later all Alpha Jets of the Belgian Air Force had left for France, away from the creative hands of their previous owners. 


The model:
Scratchbuilt conversion of Heller 1/72 Alpha Jet “Patrouille de France”, missiles from spares box. 



All resemblance to existing persons or situations is by pure coincidence and in no way the intention of the author !


Photos and text © by Rob Haelterman