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Portugal Monte-Real

Since 1994 the Portuguese air force has operational F-16s, based at Monte-Real with 201 squadron. The F-16 were the replacements of the old A-7P Corsairs. At the moment 20 F-16s (16 single seater A and 4 double seater B) will be upgraded with a Mid-Life Upgrade (MLU). After the MLU, these F-16s can take the AIM-120 AAMRAM rocket into the air. And night-vision-goggles can be used by the pilots after the MLU. There are plans to create a 2nd squadron with the F-16 MLU, while the current 201 squadron will keep on flying with the older A and B models. One of the photos is an F-16 MLU carrying an AIM-9 Sidewinder and an AIM-120 AAMRAM.

The 201 squadron "Falcões" (Falcons) at Monte-Real have a primary mission as fighter/interceptor in an air defense role. Their secondary task is ground support/interdiction.

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  All photo's:
G.J.A. van Boven
© Sentry Aviation News


Portugal Beja

Beja is one of the largest bases in Portugal. It was developed by the German Air Force in the 1960’s an ‘always-good-weather’ training base. During the 1980’s-1990’s the base was handed over to the Portuguese air force. Where it was used as a training base for advanced trainer courses. Basic training takes place at Air base 1 Sintra with the old and vulnerable Chipmunks of 802 squadron "Águias" (Eagles) from the Air Force Academy.

At Beja the advanced training is done with the Epsilon trainers of 101 squadron - "Roncos" (Roars). After the advanced propeller course the students will go to the AlphaJet training squadron 103 "Caracóis" (Snails). After graduation the new pilots can go to the other AlphaJet 301 squadron "Jaguares" (Jaguars) at Beja or the F-16 squadron of "Falcões" (Falcons) at Monte-Real.

Beja also hosts the Alouette 3 helicopter squadron of 552 squadron 'Zangões' (Stingers). From the more than 100 helicopters, only some 15 remain operational. With a very important task of ground observation for forest fire fighting during the hot summers.

3 nice visitors came around that day, 2 Chipmunks trainers and a Cessna push-pull mail-plane.

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Publications: AIREVIEW 2005-12 has a Portugal item

Acknowledgments: Thanks to Relações Publicas Força Aérea, Nuno Esteves da Silva (Mais Alto), Capt Raimundo (Monte-Real), Lt Costa (Beja).


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