Last week, the Inspectorate General of the defence ministry presented the preliminary results of its report on the F-16 replacement procedure to Minister Steven Vandeput (N-VA). “It appears from the hearing involving the colonels and generals, a serious error of judgment was made, bordering on manipulation, but it would go too far to call it a conspiracy,” says a source close to the investigation, according to De Morgen.
Two weeks ago, a report by Lockheed Martin, the American aircraft manufacturer, revealed that the Belgian F-16s could fly longer than previously expected. At the time Minister Vandeput stated that he was not aware that the life of the F-16s could be extended and ordered two investigations.
An external investigation by the federal audit committee is still pending, but the internal audit of the Inspectorate General is in the process of being finalised. According to De Morgen, the minister’s office had not been informed of Lockheed Martin’s assessment. The name of Claude Van de Voorde, the former chief of staff of the minister, was not named among the people familiar with Lockheed Martin’s report.