Open Door at Brasschaat


During the Brasschaat Open House on May 5th which celebrated amongst others the 185 anniversary of the creation of the camp, some very nice preserved artillery equipment was shown to the public.

The Raytheon MIM-23B HAWK (Home All the Way Killer) ground-to-air missile served with the 43A and 62A Artillery Battalions, based in Germany in the Brakel and Essentho barracks from the mid-1960s till the early 1990s. Together they formed the so-called Hawk-barrier against aerial targets flying at low and medium altitude. The Mach 2+ missile had a range of approximately 35 km. On show were the following elements of a HAWK battery: the Pulse Acquisition Radar (PAR), the Continuous Wave Acquisition Radar (CWAR), the Range Only Radar (ROR), the High Powered Illuminator Radar (HPIR), an empty missile launcher, a transport trailer with three missiles and a Platoon Command Post (PCP).


Raytheon MIM-23B HAWK 

 The 30 inch (762 mm) Honest John was a tactical ballistic artillery rocket with a 35 km range that could be equipped with a conventional high explosive, chemical or nuclear warhead. It served with the 3A, 14A, 20A and 75A Artillery Battalions from 1960 until 1978 when it was replaced by the newly acquired Lance missile system. The M289 missile launcher was installed on a 196 hp Diamond M139D 6x6 truck.

Honest John

Honest John tactical ballistic artillery rocket

 The 22 inch (560 mm) Vought XMGM-52C Lance battlefield tactical missile superseded the Honest John from 1978 onwards. It served exclusively with the 3A Artillery Battalion in Werl, Germany, and had a range of 65 km with a conventional warhead or 120 km with a nuclear warhead. The self-propelled XM752 erector-launcher was based on the M113A1 chassis and housed one missile and a six-strong launch crew. The missile system was withdrawn from service soon after the October 1991 decision to reduce short range nuclear weapons in Europe.

 The MBLE Epervier short range battlefield reconnaissance drone entered service with the Dellbrück, Germany, based 1st Platoon Battlefield Surveillance Drones in 1976. Forty-nine drones were eventually delivered. The 1st Platoon merged with the once in Brasschaat formed 80A Artillery Battalion in 1989 and moved to Elsenborn when the Belgian Armed Forces started to withdraw from Germany. 80A became the 80th UAV Squadron in 2004 and is nowadays equipped with the Israel Aircraft Industries B-Hunter unmanned aerial vehicle.

In accordance with strict budgetary constraints striking all the non operational activities of the Belgian armed forces, the air part of the Brasschaat army camp open day was reduced to its simplest expression. That is to say a static display with just one vintage SA.318C Alouette II (A-43) and one A109BA Hirundo in HATk configuration (H-42) of the local Army Aviation School as well as two warbirds of the Eric Voormezeele collection: AT-16ND Harvard OO-DAF and Fiat G-46 OO-VOR. The aircraft and gliders of the Royal Aeroclub of Brasschaat offering most of the flying part of this event. Among these aircraft were three Piper L-18C, two of them being disguised as Belgian Army OL-L47 (OO-LGB) and L-156 (OO-SPG). A rather surrealist situation as the third one, OO-ATY, being a true ex Belgian Army aircraft formerly serialled L-147 and later L-47!
One could also have a look at the Army Aviation School gate-guardian Auster AOP.6  "A-16" (in fact the former A-15). Also visible, but in the non public area of the air base, were two retired BN-2 Islander (B-03 and B-07) waiting their final fate in open storage. The B-03/OT-ALC still carrying the traces of its crash landing of 14th February 2003 that caused its early withdrawal from use.

Auster "A-16" Gate Guardian

Brasschaat Auster "A-16" Gate Guardian

Alouette II A-43

Alouette II A-43

Agusta H-42

Agusta A.109BA H42

Britten-Norman Islander B-03 & B-07

Retired Britten Norman Islanders B-03 (nose damaged in landing-accident) and B-07

T-6 H-50

Eric Vormesele in his T-6 Harvard "H-50"

 Two Piper L-18C Super Cubs of the Royal Aeroclub of Brasschaat disguised as Belgian Army OL-L47 and L156.

Piper L-18C Cub

Piper L-18C Super Cub OO-LGB painted as L-156

Jos Schoofs & Vincent Pirard

Pics by Jos Schoofs, Vincent Pirard, Dirk A. Geerts, Serge Van Heertum

Last updated 15/03/12 18:22   Daniel Brackx