conversion of Heller Alpha Jet
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).
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
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”.
resulted was a single seat Alpha Jet with wing tip launchers for Matra Mica
missiles and a Fiar Grifo radar.
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.
conversion of Heller 1/72 Alpha Jet “Patrouille de France”, missiles from
resemblance to existing persons or situations is by pure coincidence and in no
way the intention of the author !