De Morgen is reporting on Friday that the Belgian Air Force possibly concealed information regarding the purchase of new drones, as it did with the F-16s. According to documents consulted by the publication, the military retained a single candidate, having dismissed the others, three months after the call for proposals.
The publication mentions that the Belgian Air Force wishes to replace its current Israeli drones. In February last year, the Ministry of Defence thus issued a call for proposals, to which three companies responded. In May, a working group within the Air Force had already made its decision and two Israeli applications were rejected. Only the American proposal was retained; the Predator B made by General Atomics.
At the end of January, the Parliamentary Committee for Military Procurement had approved the acquisition of four American drones. The members of the committee had only been able to reach a decision upon the American aircraft, the Ministry of Defence having mentioned difficulties in obtaining a European certificate for the other candidates in the tendering process.
One of the Israeli candidates, Elbit, says that this is not the case. The company claims that information was concealed upon the procurement process, within the department for the Minister of Defence, Steven Vandeput (N-VA). Elbit is thought to have clearly made known, on several occasions, that the European certification of its aircraft was in order.
Wouter De Vriendt, who is the Groen committee member, commented, “It is clear as well, within this project, that the Ministry of Defence is aligning its policy towards the direction it wants.”