For quite a lot of us who have been spotters for several years have witnessed the drawdown of military equipment around Europe. After the collapse of the Berlin wall it speeded up even more and the current situation is also grim with new cuts in the forseeable future. Most Airforces have retired several types of aircraft to standardise their mainfleet and cut down in maintainancecosts. With this page I will try to let you expierience which types have been retired recently or in the last 2 decades with the airforces operating in the europian skies or have been doing.

The new members of NATO are a great example of retiring their aging soviet equipment and trading for secondhand or new western hardware. Hungary and the Czech Republic went for a lease of Swedish built JAS39 Gripen to replace their MIG 21's to take over airpolicing duties.

Portugal retired its Corsairs and Talons and gained secondhand F16's from the United States whom after the 1st Gulfwar started the great exodus of units based in Europe and close down several bases for example: Hahn AFB Germany,Zweibrücken AFB Germany,Sembach AFB Germany and in Britain several more.

The Canadian forces completely withdrew their forces from Europe and Britain closed down all fixed wing bases aswell and the last base will follow in the near future.


Also the introduction of new types of helicopters and aircraft other types suffer in numbers or will be retired in the proces. Italy retired eventually the famous Starfighter which loved many of us for its "Howling" and if we want to see these days 1 of these birds the best chance to see 1 is in the US where a group of privateers have bought some and still fly them. The norwegians also are trying to bring 1 back in the sky

There are several more type of aircraft and helicopters that aren't shown here but at least it gives you an idea what has happened with lots of aircraft like the Buccaneer or Draken or not to forget the Jaguar and what about the F one-eleven and Tomcat,you see there is too much to mention. Lets hope the coming decade the diversity of types isn't shortened to a handfull. Enjoy watching like I do!


Jan Eenling© 2006-2010