Portuguese Air Force says goodbye to Alpha Jet

After twenty-five-year of service, the Alpha Jet A leave the Portuguese Air Force fleet.

Portuguese Alpha Jet farewell last flight
Portuguese Air Force says goodbye to Alpha Jet.

On 13 January 2018, the Alpha Jet A, operated by Squadron 103 “Caracoles” of the Força Aérea Portuguesa (Portuguese Air Force), flew for the last time. The aircraft's sunset came after twenty-five years of honorable service during which it trained young fighter pilots. The celebratory event was attended by several generations of pilots, mechanics and collaborators who, for years, have frequented the 103 Squadron and did not want to miss the last chance to see the venerable jet in flight. The ceremony also saw the participation of the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, General Manuel Teixeira Rolo, the Commander of the Air Force, Lieutenant General Joaquim Borrego, as well as other high-level military and civilian entities. During the event, authorities also unveiled a monument to honor the Alpha Jet's service to the PoAF.

In 1993, Germany transferred 50 Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jets to Portugal as part payment for the Luftwaffe's use of Beja Air Base, which replaced the T-38 aircraft. The aircraft was also part of the Asas de Portugal aerobatic team which was formed in 1997 within the 103 Squadron, but the team was disbanded after only two performances for logistical reasons. It was then reformed in 2005 and continued to perform until 2010.

At the invitation of the PoAF, the event was attended by over 50 photographers and aviation enthusiasts. During the “Spotters Event” it was possible to observe formation flights, landings, take-offs and in-flight maneuvers, which made the joy of those who traveled from various parts of the country and abroad. The Alpha Jets involved in this farewell event wore a special livery. Three had the color scheme of the Asas De Portugal aerobatic team, one had a 50,000 flight hours logo on the tail and one a special livery for the 50th anniversary of the 103 Squadron.

Written by Matteo Sanzani
Images: Portuguese Air Force

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