The withholding of information from Defence Minister Steven Vandeput, mainly about F16s for his ministry, “is a purely Flemish affair”, former pilot and air force colonel Luc Gennart said in an interview published on Thursday in Le Soir. “It’s indispensable to put Francophones back at the head of the air force; that can only enrich it,” said Gennart, who is a municipal councillor for the Reformist Movement (MR) in Namur. “Francophones are, de facto, appointed only to posts where there are no decisions to be made,” added the ex-pilot, who had warned a few years ago that the air force was becoming a Flemish affair.
Gennart said he found it “surprising” that “former colleagues” could have hidden information from the minister. “But,” he added, “let’s not forget that it’s the armed forces. Some people within the army do not always have much political savvy.”
“A new body is needed to analyse the bids for the replacement of the F16s,” he said, while continuing to argue in favour of the need to invest in new aircraft. Where the air force is concerned, “Belgium fulfills its missions brilliantly”, he said. “There are not many countries in Europe that perform as well as we do.”