Belgian Interior Minister, Joseph Michel announced his country's decision to buy the American F-16 lightweight fighter, in preference to its French rival, the Mirage F-1E, on Saturday (7 June).
GV French Mirage F-1E on show also placard with name (2 shots)
CU PAN from cockpit to nose cone
SV ZOOM OUT show-F-1E
GV Crowds around F-1E
GV US F-16 with name on tail, PAN DOWN TO engine
GV PAN along F-16 TO cockpit
SV Missile on wing
GV Spectators looking at F-16
LV Crowds at show
GV Spectators watching air display
GV PAN F-16 down runway & take off
CU Cameraman filming
GV F-16 flies past rolling
GV PAN Mirage F-1E down runway and take off
GV F1, flies towards rolling
Initials BJB/1730 BJB/1805
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Background: Belgian Interior Minister, Joseph Michel announced his country's decision to buy the American F-16 lightweight fighter, in preference to its French rival, the Mirage F-1E, on Saturday (7 June).
Both planes were on display at the Paris International Air Show this week.
The Belgian decision means the United States has now clinched what has been termed "the arms deal of the country", for the supply of 350 aircraft to four NATO countries, contracts worth more than 2,000 million U.S. dollars.
Norway, Holland and Denmark had already agreed to purchase the F-16 as a replacement for the Starfighter, provided that Belgium did the same.
M. Claude-Benno Valieres, Chief Executive of Marcel Dassault..the French manufactures of the Mirage F-1...described the Belgian decision as a bitter blow for the French and European aircraft industry.
M. Valieres also claimed it was an even harder blow for European unity.
He said the choice was obviously political, but added that his company would continue to construct the F-1.
SYNOPSIS: The French combat aircraft, the Mirage F-1E...losing contender in what has been described as the "arms deal of the century." The Belgian decision to replace their Starfighters with the new American lightweight fighter, the F-16, means that the United States has clinched contracts with four NATO countries for the supply of 350 aircraft, worth more than 2,000 million dollars. Norway, Denmark and Holland had already agreed to purchase the F-16..provided the Belgians did the same. M. Claude-Benno Valieres, chief executive of Marcel-Dassault..the French manufacturers' who produced the Mirage F-1..described Belgium's choice as a bitter blow for the French and European aircraft industries.
M. Valieres also claimed the decision was an even harder blow for Europeans unity. He added that the choice was obviously political, but that his company would continue a construct the Mirage F-1. The Belgian Cabinet made their choice on Saturday after weeks of hesitation.
Both the F-16 and Mirage F-1 were on display at the Paris Air Show on Friday. General Dynamic's F-16 was unveiled only eighteen months ago. The revolutionary lightweight swept-wing combat fighter has a top speed over Mach 2.2 (about fifteen hundred miles per hour). Each 'plane is built at a cost of around three million dollars (??? million sterling).
The Dassault Mirage has a new M53 turbojet engine, and costs approximately twice as much as its American rival. But the single-seater, multi mission aircraft has a top speed Mach 2.5...much faster than F-16. Dassault-Marcel are still hopeful of selling the F-1. When the NATO countries previously chose the CF-104 Starfighter, the French company was still able to sell one thousand six hundred Mirage threes and fives.