Royal Netherlands Air Force
Overview
 
The Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF), Dutch
Dutch language
Dutch is a West Germanic language and the native language of the majority of the population of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname, the three member states of the Dutch Language Union. Most speakers live in the European Union, where it is a first language for about 23 million and a second...

 Koninklijke Luchtmacht (KLu), is the military aviation
Military aviation
Military aviation is the use of aircraft and other flying machines for the purposes of conducting or enabling warfare, including national airlift capacity to provide logistical supply to forces stationed in a theater or along a front. Air power includes the national means of conducting such...

 branch of the Netherlands Armed Forces
Military of the Netherlands
The Armed forces of the Netherlands consist of the Army, Navy, and Air Force.The service branches consist of:* Koninklijke Landmacht , Royal Netherlands Army....

. Its ancestor, the Luchtvaartafdeling (aviation department) of the Dutch Army was founded on 1 July 1913, with four pilots. The aerobatic display team of the Royal Netherlands Air Force is the Solo Display Team
Solo Display Team
The Solo Display Team is the aerobatics display team of the Royal Netherlands Air Force and consists of three elements. The F-16 Solo Display Team uses the fighter jet F-16, the PC-7 Solo Display Team flies the low-wing tandem-seat training aircraft Pilatus PC-7 and the Apache Solo Display Team...

.
The Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) is the second youngest operational part of the Dutch Armed Forces, which consists of four parts: Navy, Army, Air Force and Military Police.

Dutch air power started in July 1913 with the founding of the Army Aviation Group (Luchtvaartafdeeling or LVA) at Soesterberg airfield (vliegbasis Soesterberg).
Encyclopedia
The Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF), Dutch
Dutch language
Dutch is a West Germanic language and the native language of the majority of the population of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname, the three member states of the Dutch Language Union. Most speakers live in the European Union, where it is a first language for about 23 million and a second...

 Koninklijke Luchtmacht (KLu), is the military aviation
Military aviation
Military aviation is the use of aircraft and other flying machines for the purposes of conducting or enabling warfare, including national airlift capacity to provide logistical supply to forces stationed in a theater or along a front. Air power includes the national means of conducting such...

 branch of the Netherlands Armed Forces
Military of the Netherlands
The Armed forces of the Netherlands consist of the Army, Navy, and Air Force.The service branches consist of:* Koninklijke Landmacht , Royal Netherlands Army....

. Its ancestor, the Luchtvaartafdeling (aviation department) of the Dutch Army was founded on 1 July 1913, with four pilots. The aerobatic display team of the Royal Netherlands Air Force is the Solo Display Team
Solo Display Team
The Solo Display Team is the aerobatics display team of the Royal Netherlands Air Force and consists of three elements. The F-16 Solo Display Team uses the fighter jet F-16, the PC-7 Solo Display Team flies the low-wing tandem-seat training aircraft Pilatus PC-7 and the Apache Solo Display Team...

.

The beginning in 1913

The Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) is the second youngest operational part of the Dutch Armed Forces, which consists of four parts: Navy, Army, Air Force and Military Police.

Dutch air power started in July 1913 with the founding of the Army Aviation Group (Luchtvaartafdeeling or LVA) at Soesterberg airfield (vliegbasis Soesterberg). When founded, the Army Aviation Group operated one aircraft, the Brik, which was supplemented with three French Farman
Farman
Farman Aviation Works was an aeronautic enterprise founded and run by the brothers; Richard, Henri, and Maurice Farman. They designed and constructed aircraft and engines from 1908 until 1936; during the French nationalization and rationalization of its aerospace industry, Farman's assets were...

aircraft a few months later.

These aircraft were soon outdated and the Dutch government ordered several fighter/reconnaissance Nieuport
Nieuport
Nieuport, later Nieuport-Delage, was a French aeroplane company that primarily built racing aircraft before World War I and fighter aircraft during World War I and between the wars.-Beginnings:...

and Caudron
Caudron
The Caudron Airplane Company was a French aircraft company founded in 1909 by brothers Gaston Caudron and René Caudron . It was one of the earliest aircraft manufacturers in France and produced planes for the military in both World War I and World War II...

aircraft to replace them.

1914-1918 WWI

The Netherlands maintained a neutral position during World War I and the Army Aviation Group did not take part in any action, instead developing the force's capabilities.

Pilot training was opened for ranks below officer, and technical, aerial photography, meteorological and navigation flights were established.

New airfields were established at Arnhem, Gilze-Rijen air base, Venlo and Vlissingen.

Between the wars

After the end of World War I the Dutch government cut the defence budget and the Army Aviation Group was almost dissolved. As political tensions in Europe increased during the late 1930s the government tried to rebuild the armed forces again in 1938 but there were many problems, not least the shortage of pilot instructors, navigators and pilots to fly the new multiple engine aircraft. Lack of standardisation and resulting maintenance issues added to the complexity of the rebuilding task.

World War II and late 1940s

As war loomed, in July 1939 the Army Aviation Group was renamed the Army Aviation Brigade (Luchtvaartbrigade).

In August 1939, the Netherlands government mobilised its armed forces, but due to limited budgets the Army Aviation Brigade operated only 176 combat aircraft of the following types:
  • 16 Fokker T.V
    Fokker T.V
    |-See also:-Bibliography:* Gerdessen, Frits and Luuk Boerman. Fokker T.V 'Luchtkruiser': History, Camouflage and Markings . Zwammerdam, the Netherlands: Dutch Profile Publications, 2009. ISBN 978-94-90092-01-6....

    type bombers

  • 36 Fokker D.XXI
    Fokker D.XXI
    -See also:-References:NotesBibliography* De Jong, Peter. Le Fokker D.21 . Outreau, France: Éditions Lela Presse, 2005. ISBN 2-914017-26-X....

    single-engine fighters

  • 35 Fokker G.I
    Fokker G.I
    The Fokker G.I was a Dutch heavy twin-engined fighter plane comparable in size and role to the German Messerschmitt Bf 110 and the British Mosquito. Although in production prior to World War II, its combat introduction came at a time when the Netherlands was overrun...

    twin-engine fighters

  • 7 Fokker D.XVII
    Fokker D.XVII
    -References:*Taylor, H.A.. Airspeed Aircraft since 1931. Putnam. 1970. London. ISBN 370 00110 9...

    single engine fighters

  • 17 Douglas DB-8A-3N light bombers

  • 20 Fokker C.X
    Fokker C.X
    -Bibliography:*Taylor, H.A.. Airspeed Aircraft since 1931. Putnam. 1970. London. ISBN 370 00110 9...

    light bombers

  • 33 Fokker C.V
    Fokker C.V
    Fokker C.V was a Dutch light reconnaissance and bomber biplane aircraft manufactured by Fokker. It was designed by Anthony Fokker and the series manufacture began in 1924 at Fokker in Amsterdam.-Development:...

    reconnaissance aircraft

  • 20 Koolhoven FK-51 artillery observer aircraft


In May 1940, Germany invaded the Netherlands
Battle of the Netherlands
The Battle of the Netherlands was part of Case Yellow , the German invasion of the Low Countries and France during World War II. The battle lasted from 10 May 1940 until 14 May 1940 when the main Dutch forces surrendered...

. Within five days the Dutch Army Aviation Brigade was taken out by the German Luftwaffe
Luftwaffe
Luftwaffe is a generic German term for an air force. It is also the official name for two of the four historic German air forces, the Wehrmacht air arm founded in 1935 and disbanded in 1946; and the current Bundeswehr air arm founded in 1956....

. All of the Brigade's bombers, along with 30 D.XXI and 17 G.I fighters were shot down; two D.XXI and eight G.I were destroyed on the ground. Two G.I were captured by German forces, one of which was later flown to England by a Fokker pilot. The Douglas bombers were used as fighters because no suitable bombs were available; these aircraft were poorly suited for this role and eight were shot down and three destroyed on the ground in the first hours of the conflict.

In spite of their numerical inferiority, the Dutch armed forces did enjoy success against the Luftwaffe, having 350 Luftwaffe aircraft destroyed, although many of these were lost to anti-aircraft fire and crashes at improvised landing fields in the Netherlands rather than due to action by Dutch fighters. The cost was high - almost 95% of the Dutch pilots were lost. In recognition of their actions Queen Wilhelmina
Wilhelmina of the Netherlands
Wilhelmina was Queen regnant of the Kingdom of the Netherlands from 1890 to 1948. She ruled the Netherlands for fifty-eight years, longer than any other Dutch monarch. Her reign saw World War I and World War II, the economic crisis of 1933, and the decline of the Netherlands as a major colonial...

 granted the highest Dutch military decoration, the Militaire Willemsorde (MWO), to the Army Aviation Brigade collectively.

Some aircrews escaped to England and on June 1, 1940, 320 Squadron
No. 320 Squadron RAF
No. 320 Squadron RAF was a unit of the Royal Air Force during World War II formed from the personnel of the Royal Netherlands Naval Air Service.-Formation:...

 and 321 Squadron
No. 321 Squadron RAF
No. 321 Squadron RAF was a unit of the Royal Air Force during World War II formed from the personnel of the Royal Netherlands Naval Air Service.-Formation:...

 were established there under RAF
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

 operational command. Due to a shortage of personnel, 321 Squadron was absorbed by 320 Sqn in January 1941. Although their personnel were predominantly from the Navy Air Service, Army Aviation aircrew also served with 320 Sqn until the end of the war.

In 1941, the Royal Netherlands Military Flying School was re-established, in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 at Jackson Field
Hawkins Field (airport)
Hawkins Field is a city-owned public-use airport located three miles northwest of the central business district of Jackson, a city in Hinds County, Mississippi, United States.-Facilities and aircraft:...

 (also known as Hawkins Field), Jackson, Mississippi
Jackson, Mississippi
Jackson is the capital and the most populous city of the US state of Mississippi. It is one of two county seats of Hinds County ,. The population of the city declined from 184,256 at the 2000 census to 173,514 at the 2010 census...

, operating lend-lease
Lend-Lease
Lend-Lease was the program under which the United States of America supplied the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, China, Free France, and other Allied nations with materiel between 1941 and 1945. It was signed into law on March 11, 1941, a year and a half after the outbreak of war in Europe in...

 aircraft and training all military aircrew for the Netherlands.

The separate Militaire Luchtvaart van het Koninklijk Nederlands-Indisch Leger
Royal Netherlands East Indies Army Air Force
The Royal Netherlands East Indies Army Air Force was the air arm of the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army in the Dutch East Indies from 1939 until 1950...

(ML-KNIL; Royal Netherlands East Indies Army Military Air Service) continued in the Netherlands East Indies (NEI), until its occupation by Japan
Japanese Occupation of Indonesia
The Japanese Empire occupied Indonesia, known then as the Dutch East Indies, during World War II from March 1942 until after the end of War in 1945...

 in 1942. Some personnel escaped to Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 and Ceylon. 321 Squadron
No. 321 Squadron RAF
No. 321 Squadron RAF was a unit of the Royal Air Force during World War II formed from the personnel of the Royal Netherlands Naval Air Service.-Formation:...

 was re-formed in Ceylon, in March 1942, from Dutch aviators.

In 1942, 18 (NEI) Squadron, a joint Dutch-Australian unit was established, in Canberra
Canberra
Canberra is the capital city of Australia. With a population of over 345,000, it is Australia's largest inland city and the eighth-largest city overall. The city is located at the northern end of the Australian Capital Territory , south-west of Sydney, and north-east of Melbourne...

, equipped with B-25 Mitchell
B-25 Mitchell
The North American B-25 Mitchell was an American twin-engined medium bomber manufactured by North American Aviation. It was used by many Allied air forces, in every theater of World War II, as well as many other air forces after the war ended, and saw service across four decades.The B-25 was named...

 bombers. It saw action in the New Guinea campaign
New Guinea campaign
The New Guinea campaign was one of the major military campaigns of World War II.Before the war, the island of New Guinea was split between:...

 and over the Dutch East Indies. In 1943, 120 (NEI) Squadron
No. 120 (Netherlands East Indies) Squadron RAAF
No. 120 Squadron was a joint Dutch and Australian squadron of World War II. The squadron was first formed in December 1943 as part of the Royal Australian Air Force , and saw combat in and around New Guinea during 1944 and 1945 equipped with P-40 Kittyhawk fighters. Following the war, No...

 was established. Equipped with Kittyhawk
Curtiss P-40
The Curtiss P-40 Warhawk was an American single-engine, single-seat, all-metal fighter and ground attack aircraft that first flew in 1938. The P-40 design was a modification of the previous Curtiss P-36 Hawk which reduced development time and enabled a rapid entry into production and operational...

 fighters, it flew many missions under Australian command, including the recapturing of Dutch New Guinea
Western New Guinea campaign
The Western New Guinea campaign was a series of actions in the New Guinea campaign of World War II. United States and Australian forces assaulted Japanese bases and positions in the northwest coastal areas of Netherlands New Guinea and adjoining parts of the Australian Territory of New Guinea...

.
In June 1943, a Dutch fighter squadron was established in England. 322 (Dutch) Squadron
No. 322 Squadron RAF
No. 322 Squadron of the Royal Air Force was a Fighter Squadron during the Second World War-History:No. 322 Squadron of the Royal Air Force was formed from the Dutch personnel of No. 167 Squadron RAF on 12 June 1943 at RAF Woodvale. The squadron retained the code-letter combination VL which had...

, equipped with the Supermarine Spitfire
Supermarine Spitfire
The Supermarine Spitfire is a British single-seat fighter aircraft that was used by the Royal Air Force and many other Allied countries throughout the Second World War. The Spitfire continued to be used as a front line fighter and in secondary roles into the 1950s...

, saw action as part of the RAF. 322 Sqn aircraft featured the British RAF roundels as well as the Dutch orange triangle. 322 Sqn was successfully deployed against incoming V-1 flying bombs. From mid-1944, during the invasion of Normandy, it executed ground attack
Close air support
In military tactics, close air support is defined as air action by fixed or rotary winged aircraft against hostile targets that are close to friendly forces, and which requires detailed integration of each air mission with fire and movement of these forces.The determining factor for CAS is...

 missions over France and Belgium.

In July 1944, the Directorate of Netherlands Airpower was established in London.

In 1947, its Chief of Air Force Staff was appointed.

The 1950s and 1960s

In 1951 several non-combat functions in the Army Aviation were opened to women.

On the 27th of March 1953 the Royal Netherlands Air Force officially became part of the Dutch armed forces.

The Air Defense Command, (Commando Lucht Verdediging, abbreviated CLV) consisting of a command unit, five radar stations and six fighter squadrons, had been established. Its radar equipment as well as its air defense fighters all came from obsolete RAF stocks.
  • The Spitfire Mk.IX was used by 322 sqn until 1954, but was replaced as new squadrons were established.
  • The Gloster Meteor F Mk.IV
    Gloster Meteor
    The Gloster Meteor was the first British jet fighter and the Allies' first operational jet. It first flew in 1943 and commenced operations on 27 July 1944 with 616 Squadron of the Royal Air Force...

     was used by 322, 323, 324, 325, 326, 327 and 328 sqn from 1948-1957.
  • The Gloster Meteor F Mk.VIII
    Gloster Meteor
    The Gloster Meteor was the first British jet fighter and the Allies' first operational jet. It first flew in 1943 and commenced operations on 27 July 1944 with 616 Squadron of the Royal Air Force...

     was used by 322, 323, 324, 325, 326, 327 and 328 sqn between 1950-1959.


After the Netherlands joined NATO another new command: Tactical Air Command (Commando Tactische Luchtstrijdkrachten, abbreviated CTL) was established.
  • CTL consisted of seven new strike squadrons (306, 311, 312, 313, 314, 315 and 316 sqn), all equipped with Republic F-84G Thunderjet aircraft. These aircraft were supplied by the United States under the Mutual Defense Aid Program from 1952-1956.
  • 306, 322, 323, 324, 325, 326 and 327 Sqn operated the Hawker Hunter F Mk4
    Hawker Hunter
    The Hawker Hunter is a subsonic British jet aircraft developed in the 1950s. The single-seat Hunter entered service as a manoeuvrable fighter aircraft, and later operated in fighter-bomber and reconnaissance roles in numerous conflicts. Two-seat variants remained in use for training and secondary...

     between 1956–1964, and the Hawker Hunter F Mk.6
    Hawker Hunter
    The Hawker Hunter is a subsonic British jet aircraft developed in the 1950s. The single-seat Hunter entered service as a manoeuvrable fighter aircraft, and later operated in fighter-bomber and reconnaissance roles in numerous conflicts. Two-seat variants remained in use for training and secondary...

     between 1957-1968.
  • 700, 701 and 702 Sqn operated the F86 Sabre
    F-86 Sabre
    The North American F-86 Sabre was a transonic jet fighter aircraft. Produced by North American Aviation, the Sabre is best known as America's first swept wing fighter which could counter the similarly-winged Soviet MiG-15 in high speed dogfights over the skies of the Korean War...

     all-weather fighter between 1956–1964.
  • 306, 311, 312, 313, 314, 315 and 316 sqn changed aircraft configuration from 1955-1970 as the Republic F-84F Thunderstreak and RF-84F Thunderflash became available.

New Guinea conflict

The Indonesian government claimed New Guinea following the end of the second world war. The Dutch government considered the area Dutch territory. Negotiations over the country were conducted for years, but tensions grew until Indonesia broke diplomatic relations with the Netherlands at the end of the 1950s.

In response, in 1958, the Netherlands deployed military reinforcements to New Guinea, including an Air Force detachment for the air defense of the island Biak as there was evidence that Indonesia was infiltrating the island in advance of a military operation.

The first Air Force contribution was the installation of two MkIV early warning radars on Biak and neighbouring Woendi island.

The political situation between the Netherlands and Indonesia continued to deteriorate and in 1960 the Dutch government deployed reinforcements. The operations were known by name as ’Plan Fidelio’. For the Dutch Air Force this meant the establishment of an Air Defense Command for New Guinea (Commando Luchtverdediging Nederlands Nieuw-Guinea - CLV NNG) consisting of :
  • one Hawker Hunter Mk.4 air defence squadron;
  • a radar navigation system at Biak, and;
  • a reserve airstrip at Noemfoer.


The Dutch government deployed a squadron consisting of 12 Hawker Hunter Mk.4 AD fighters and two Alouette II SAR helicopters. They were transported to Southeast Asia by the Karel Doorman
HNLMS Karel Doorman (R81)
HNLMS Karel Doorman was a Colossus-class aircraft carrier of the Royal Netherlands Navy. The ship was the British HMS Venerable before she was sold in 1948 to the Netherlands as a light attack carrier. In 1960 she was involved in the decolonization conflict in Western New Guinea with Indonesia...

. One year later the Dutch government deployed another 12 Hawker Hunter Mk6 AD fighters; these aircraft carried more fuel and had a larger combat radius.

In August 1962 Indonesia was ready to attack New Guinea. Despite reinforcements the Dutch defences would be insufficient to withstand the coming attack. Therefore, and because of international political pressure the Dutch government was forced to agree to the peaceful surrender of New Guinea. Dutch forces were withdrawn from the territory.

The establishment of 336 transport squadron is closely connected to New Guinea. Soon after activation this unit was deployed to New Guinea to take over air transport from the Dutch Navy. 336 Sqn deployed and took over three Navy Dakotas and three US supplied aircraft. 336 Sqn operated from Mokmer airstrip and transported more than 5,400 passengers between September 1961 and September 1962.

The Cold War era, 1960s, 1970s and later

During the cold war
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 era Dutch Air Force units played an important part in the West European defence against the opposing Warsaw Pact
Warsaw Pact
The Warsaw Treaty Organization of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance , or more commonly referred to as the Warsaw Pact, was a mutual defense treaty subscribed to by eight communist states in Eastern Europe...

 forces. The Dutch Air Force manned five fully operational self supporting Missile Groups in West Germany (1 and 2 MslGrp were equipped with NIKE
Nike-Hercules Missile
The MIM-14 Nike-Hercules , was a solid fuel propelled two-stage surface-to-air missile, used by US and NATO armed forces for high- and medium-altitude air defense...

 batteries, while 3,4 and 5 MslGrp were equipped with Hawk
MIM-23 Hawk
The Raytheon MIM-23 Hawk is a U.S. medium range surface-to-air missile. The Hawk was initially designed to destroy aircraft and was later adapted to destroy other missiles in flight. The missile entered service in 1960, and a program of extensive upgrades has kept it from becoming obsolete. It was...

). Dutch fighters and other weapon systems also took a full part in NATO alert, standby duties and exercises through the years.
  • 306, 311, 312, 322 and 323 Sqn changed configuration again from 1962-1983 after the dual role F-104 Starfighter
    F-104 Starfighter
    The Lockheed F-104 Starfighter is a single-engine, high-performance, supersonic interceptor aircraft originally developed for the United States Air Force by Lockheed. One of the Century Series of aircraft, it served with the USAF from 1958 until 1969, and continued with Air National Guard units...

     was introduced.
  • 313, 314, 315 and 316 Sqn switched over to the NF-5 Freedom Fighter from 1969-1992. The NF-5 was a CF-5 fighter development. Some of the features on the NF-5 were later used by Northrop on the F-5E/F Tiger II variant.
  • From 1979 until now all remaining RNLAF squadrons (306, 311, 312, 313, 315, 322 and 323) use NATO's standard fighter-bomber: the multi role F-16 Fighting Falcon
    F-16 Fighting Falcon
    The General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon is a multirole jet fighter aircraft originally developed by General Dynamics for the United States Air Force . Designed as an air superiority day fighter, it evolved into a successful all-weather multirole aircraft. Over 4,400 aircraft have been built since...

    .

Former Yugoslavia

RNLAF F-16s participated in all operations over Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia refers to three political entities that existed successively on the western part of the Balkans during most of the 20th century....

 from 1993 Deny Flight
Operation Deny Flight
Operation Deny Flight was a North Atlantic Treaty Organization operation that began on April 12, 1993 as the enforcement of a United Nations no-fly zone over Bosnia and Herzegovina...

, including Deliberate Force in 1995 and ending with Operation Allied Force
Operation Allied Force
The NATO bombing of Yugoslavia was NATO's military operation against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia during the Kosovo War. The strikes lasted from March 24, 1999 to June 10, 1999...

 in 1999 from two bases in Italy. Initially from Villafranca AB in the north of Italy, later moving south to Amendola AB. During the operations over FRY RNLAF F-16s flew reconnaissance (306Sqn detachments from Volkel AB were in theatre throughout the operations), enforced the Bosnian no-fly zone, dropped bombs on Udbina AB (1994), successfully dropped an unguided bomb on a moving Serb tank during the fall of Srebrenica (1995), and took part in Deliberate Force later in the summer of 1995.

Between 1994 and 1997 Dutch GCI personnel, along with Canadian GCI controllers, provided many hundreds of hours of fighter control and surveillance as integrated members of USAF/ANG Air Control Squadrons. During the Kosovo crisis a RNLAF F-16AM (mid-life update) damaged a Yugoslavian MiG-29
Mikoyan MiG-29
The Mikoyan MiG-29 is a fourth-generation jet fighter aircraft designed in the Soviet Union for an air superiority role. Developed in the 1970s by the Mikoyan design bureau, it entered service with the Soviet Air Force in 1983, and remains in use by the Russian Air Force as well as in many other...

 with an AMRAAM, but the force was more recognized for its high bombing accuracy. Allied Force was also the operational debut for the upgraded F-16AM. Besides the CAP mission, offensive bombing and photo reconnaissance missions were flown. KDC-10 tankers refuelled allied fighter over the Adriatic Sea, and C-130 Hercules transports flew daily sorties from Eindhoven AB to logistically support the operation. In total, RNLAF aircraft flew 1,194 sorties during operation Allied Force, which is about 7.5% of the total 37.000 sorties flown.

Operation Enduring Freedom and NATO in Afghanistan

In October 2002 a tri-national detachment of 18 Dutch, Danish
Royal Danish Air Force
The Royal Danish Air Force is the air force of Denmark with the capability to undertake homeland defense and homeland security roles as well international operations.-History:...

 and Norwegian
Royal Norwegian Air Force
The Royal Norwegian Air Force is the air force of Norway. It was established as a separate arm of the Norwegian armed forces on 10 November 1944. The RNoAF's peace force is approximately 1,430 employees . 600 personnel also serve their draft period in the RNoAF...

 F-16 ground attack aircraft and one Dutch KDC-10 tanker deployed to Manas Air Base
Manas Air Base
Transit Center at Manas is a United States military installation at Manas International Airport, near Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, primarily operated by the U.S. Air Force....

 in Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan , officially the Kyrgyz Republic is one of the world's six independent Turkic states . Located in Central Asia, landlocked and mountainous, Kyrgyzstan is bordered by Kazakhstan to the north, Uzbekistan to the west, Tajikistan to the southwest and China to the east...

 in support of ground forces in Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. The RNLAF returned to Manas AB in September 2004 with five F-16 and one KDC-10 in support of the presidential elections of Afghanistan. This time the aircraft flew under the NATO ISAF
International Security Assistance Force
The International Security Assistance Force is a NATO-led security mission in Afghanistan established by the United Nations Security Council on 20 December 2001 by Resolution 1386 as envisaged by the Bonn Agreement...

 flag.

In February 2006 four Dutch F-16s were joined by four Royal Norwegian Air Force
Royal Norwegian Air Force
The Royal Norwegian Air Force is the air force of Norway. It was established as a separate arm of the Norwegian armed forces on 10 November 1944. The RNoAF's peace force is approximately 1,430 employees . 600 personnel also serve their draft period in the RNoAF...

 F-16s in a detachment known as the 1st Netherlands-Norwegian European Participating Forces Expeditionary Air Wing (1 NLD/NOR EEAW). This was a follow up of the participation with the Belgian Air Force.

As part of the expanded NATO ISAF mission in southern Afghanistan in August 2006, the Royal Netherlands Air Force had six F-16 ground-attack aircraft, three CH-47D Chinook of 298 Sq stationed at Kandahar Airfield
Kandahar Airfield
Kandahar International Airport is located 10 miles south-east of Kandahar City in Afghanistan. The airport was built by the United States in the 1960s, under the United States Agency for International Development program. It may have been intended to be used as a possible U.S...

. Additionally, a detachement of five AH-64D Apache
AH-64 Apache
The Boeing AH-64 Apache is a four-blade, twin-engine attack helicopter with a tailwheel-type landing gear arrangement, and a tandem cockpit for a two-man crew. The Apache was developed as Model 77 by Hughes Helicopters for the United States Army's Advanced Attack Helicopter program to replace the...

 helicopters had been stationed of Tarin Kowt
Tarin Kowt
Tarinkot or Tarin Kowt is the capital of Orūzgān province in southern Afghanistan in Tarin Kowt District. It is a town of about 10,000 people, with some 200 small shops in the city's bazaar...

, Uruzgan province.

On August 31, 2006 a Royal Netherlands Air Force (Michael "Sofac" Donkervoort) pilot was killed when his plane crashed during a mission to support British ground troops in Helmand province.

Main Operating Bases (MOBs)

  • Leeuwarden Air Base
    Leeuwarden Air Base
    Leeuwarden Air Base is a military airbase used by the Royal Netherlands Air Force - Dutch: Koninklijke Luchtmacht , . The airbase is one of the two F-16 Fighting Falcon bases of the RNLAF...

    • 322nd Squadron F-16
    • 323rd (TACTES) Squadron F-16 (TACTES = TACtical Training Evaluation Standardisation)
    • 920th Maintenance Squadron
    • 921st Logistics Squadron
    • 922nd Support Squadron

  • Volkel Air Base
    Volkel Air Base
    Volkel Air Base is a military airbase used by the Royal Netherlands Air Force - Dutch: Koninklijke Luchtmacht , and is located near the town of Uden, Noord-Brabant, in the Netherlands. It is home to three F-16 Fighting Falcon squadrons, 311, 312 and 313...

    • 311th Squadron F-16
    • 312th Squadron F-16
    • 313th Squadron F-16
    • 900th Maintenance Squadron
    • 901st Logistics Squadron
    • 640th Squadron
    • 601st Reserve Squadron
    • 703rd USAF Munition Support Sqn.

Air Defense Group

  • De Peel Air Base
    De Peel Air Base
    De Peel air base is a military air base in the Netherlands used by the Royal Netherlands Air Force guided missile division...

    Guided Weapon Group De Peel
    • 800 Squadron (Command and Control)
    • 802 Squadron MIM-104 Patriot
      MIM-104 Patriot
      The MIM-104 Patriot is a surface-to-air missile system, the primary of its kind used by the United States Army and several allied nations. It is manufactured by the Raytheon Company of the United States. The Patriot System replaced the Nike Hercules system as the U.S. Army's primary High to Medium...

    • 803 Squadron MIM-104 Patriot
      MIM-104 Patriot
      The MIM-104 Patriot is a surface-to-air missile system, the primary of its kind used by the United States Army and several allied nations. It is manufactured by the Raytheon Company of the United States. The Patriot System replaced the Nike Hercules system as the U.S. Army's primary High to Medium...

    • 650 Support Squadron
    • 602 Reserve Squadron (partial)
    • 951 Maintenance and Logistics Support Sqn.

Tactical Air Operations Base

  • Air Operations Control Station Nieuw Milligen
    Air Operations Control Station Nieuw Milligen
    The Air Operations Control Station Nieuw-Milligen of the Royal Netherlands Air Force is located near Nieuw-Milligen .It is home to:*the 710th Sqn. Control & Reporting Centre Squadron...

    • 603rd Reserve Squadron
    • 711th Squadron (Control And Reporting Centre (CRC) and Military Air Traffic Control Centre (MilATCC))
    • 970th Support Squadron


In 2009 710 and 711 Sqn were merged into one Air Operations Sqn (711Sqn). The status of the base was changed to NATO status as an airmobile NATO Deployable Air control centre, Recognised air picture production centre, Sensor fusion post DARS radar unit became operational on the base in the same year.

Defence Helicopter Command

  • Gilze-Rijen Air Base
    Gilze-Rijen Air Base
    Gilze-Rijen Air Base is a military airbase in the Netherlands located between the cities of Breda and Tilburg, in the Noord-Brabant province. It is mainly, but not exclusively used as a base for attack helicopters. The airfield has two runways, the longest, complete with instrument landing...

    • 298th Squadron CH-47 Chinook
      CH-47 Chinook
      The Boeing CH-47 Chinook is an American twin-engine, tandem rotor heavy-lift helicopter. Its top speed of 170 knots is faster than contemporary utility and attack helicopters of the 1960s...

    • 299th Squadron (Training and Standards)
    • 300th Squadron Eurocopter Cougar
      Eurocopter Cougar
      -See also:-External links:* *...

      • 300th Squadron Royal Flight Aérospatiale Alouette III
        Aérospatiale Alouette III
        The Aérospatiale Alouette III is a single-engine, light utility helicopter developed by Sud Aviation. It was manufactured by Aérospatiale of France, and under licence by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited in India as Hal Chetak and Industria Aeronautică Română in Romania.The Alouette III is the...

    • 301st Squadron AH-64 Apache
      AH-64 Apache
      The Boeing AH-64 Apache is a four-blade, twin-engine attack helicopter with a tailwheel-type landing gear arrangement, and a tandem cockpit for a two-man crew. The Apache was developed as Model 77 by Hughes Helicopters for the United States Army's Advanced Attack Helicopter program to replace the...

    • 670th Security Squadron
    • 930th Maintenance Squadron
    • 931st Support Squadron
    • 932nd Logistics Squadron
    • 604st Reserve Squadron (partial)

  • Leeuwarden Air Base
    Leeuwarden Air Base
    Leeuwarden Air Base is a military airbase used by the Royal Netherlands Air Force - Dutch: Koninklijke Luchtmacht , . The airbase is one of the two F-16 Fighting Falcon bases of the RNLAF...

    • 303rd Squadron Agusta Bell AB 412SP
      Bell 412
      The Bell 412 is a utility helicopter manufactured by Bell Helicopter. It is a development of the Bell 212 model, the major difference being the composite four-blade main rotor.-Design and development:...

       (Search and Rescue)

  • Maritime airfield De Kooij
    • VSQ-7. Westland Lynx
      Westland Lynx
      The Westland Lynx is a British multi-purpose military helicopter designed and built by Westland Helicopters at its factory in Yeovil. Originally intended as a utility craft for both civil and naval usage, military interest led to the development of both battlefield and naval variants...

       (Training and Standards, Search and Rescue)
    • VSQ-860. Westland Lynx
      Westland Lynx
      The Westland Lynx is a British multi-purpose military helicopter designed and built by Westland Helicopters at its factory in Yeovil. Originally intended as a utility craft for both civil and naval usage, military interest led to the development of both battlefield and naval variants...

    • 990 Maintenance Squadron
    • 991 Support Squadron

  • Deelen Air Base
    Deelen Air Base
    Deelen Air Base is a military air base in the Netherlands in the province of Gelderland...

    • 11 Luchtmobiele Brigade
      11 Luchtmobiele Brigade
      The 11 Luchtmobiele Brigade '7 December is the elite rapid-reaction air assault unit of the Royal Netherlands Army. Its operators are trained to be deployed via helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft , and can be deployed anywhere in the world within 7 to maximally 20 days...

       training site.

Designated as a military aviation site. Only fully operational when used for military helicopter exercises, otherwise staffed only by security personnel.

Air Transport Base

  • Eindhoven Airport
    Eindhoven Airport
    -Facilities:Passenger facilities available include: Exchange office, Lost property office, Luggage lockers, Baby changing area and a Health centre. Wireless internet access is provided free of charge throughout the airport. A business lounge is available too. Major car rental companies have their...

    • 334th Transport Squadron (KDC-10, DC-10, Gulfstream IV, Fokker 50)
    • 336th Transport Squadron (C-130H-30, C-130H)
    • 602nd Reserve Squadron (partial)
    • 940th Maintenance Support Squadron
    • 941st Miscellaneous Support Squadron
    • NATO Movement Coordination Centre Europe

Common Support Base

  • Woensdrecht Air Base
    Woensdrecht Air Base
    Woensdrecht Air Base is a military airport near the town of Woensdrecht, about 10 km south of the city of Bergen op Zoom in the Netherlands. It is located near highway A58 and the border with Belgium....

    • Royal Netherlands Air Force Training Center (Koninklijke Militaire School Luchtmacht)
      • 130th Squadron (Initial Military Training)
      • 131st Squadron (Initial Military Flight Training) (PC-7)
      • 132nd Squadron (Training and Doctrine, Management Training)
      • 133rd Squadron (Training for Electronic and Technical specialists)
    • Air Force Meteorological Group
    • Defence Materiel Command/Air Force Logistics Center
    • 960th Squadron Maintenance and Logistics Support Squadron
    • 961st Support Squadron
    • 604st Reserve Squadron (partial)

Miscellaneous units

    • 600th Reserve Squadron (Training and Standards, Air Liaison Officers, Specialist Reserves)

Closed/former air bases

  • Soesterberg Air Base
    Soesterberg Air Base
    Soesterberg Air Base was a Royal Netherlands Air Force military airbase located in Soesterberg, eastnortheast of Utrecht. It was first established as an airfield in 1911, and in 1913, the Dutch Army bought the field and established the Army Aviation Division.For almost 40 years, United States...

    • Royal Netherlands Military Aviation Museum. A part of the base remains in use as a glider field. The former USAFE site will be in use by ground units. (Relocated from Kamp van Zeist to the former 298 and 300 Sqn hangaars, open in 2013)
  • Twenthe Air Base
    Enschede Airport Twente
    Enschede Airport Twente is located north from Enschede, a municipality in the Twente region and the Overijssel province of the Netherlands. It has one runway , though one of the current taxiways has been used as a runway...

     also known as Enschede Airport Twente
    Enschede Airport Twente
    Enschede Airport Twente is located north from Enschede, a municipality in the Twente region and the Overijssel province of the Netherlands. It has one runway , though one of the current taxiways has been used as a runway...

  • Ypenburg Air Base

Rank structure

This link shows the ranks in the Royal Netherlands Navy, Army, Air Force and Marechaussee (Militarised Police): Military ranks of the Dutch armed forces
Military ranks of the Dutch armed forces
-Koninklijke Landmacht, KL :The Landmacht is the land based part of the Dutch military. Its task are the following:* To defend Dutch soil and that of NATO allies.* To contribute to peace, stability and safety world wide....


Strength

! style="text-align:left; background:#acc;"|Aircraft
! style="text-align:left; background:#acc;"|Origin
! style="text-align:left; background:#acc;"|Type
! style="text-align:left; background:#acc;"|In service
! style="text-align:left; background:#acc;"|Notes
|-
! style="align: center; background: lavender;" colspan="7" | Fighter Aircraft
Fighter aircraft
A fighter aircraft is a military aircraft designed primarily for air-to-air combat with other aircraft, as opposed to a bomber, which is designed primarily to attack ground targets...


|-
| Lockheed Martin F-16AM/BM Fighting Falcon
| /
| Multirole fighter aircraft
| 67
| 213 License-built by Fokker
Fokker
Fokker was a Dutch aircraft manufacturer named after its founder, Anthony Fokker. The company operated under several different names, starting out in 1912 in Schwerin, Germany, moving to the Netherlands in 1919....

 of which 36 were sold to Chile, 9 were sold to Jordan, 45 are kept in storage.
|-
| F-35A Lightning II
F-35 Lightning II
The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is a family of single-seat, single-engine, fifth generation multirole fighters under development to perform ground attack, reconnaissance, and air defense missions with stealth capability...


|
| Multirole stealth strikefighter aircraft
| 0+2
| 2 units ordered as part of LRIP (Low-Rate-Initial-Production). To be delivered by 2011/2012.
|-
! style="align: center; background: lavender;" colspan="7" | Trainers
Trainer (aircraft)
A trainer is a class of aircraft designed specifically to facilitate in-flight training of pilots and aircrews. The use of a dedicated trainer aircraft with additional safety features—such as tandem flight controls, forgiving flight characteristics and a simplified cockpit arrangement—allows...


|-
| Pilatus PC-7 Turbo Trainer
Pilatus PC-7
The Pilatus PC-7 Turbo Trainer is a low-wing tandem-seat training aircraft, manufactured by Pilatus Aircraft of Switzerland. The aircraft is capable of all basic training functions including aerobatics, instrument, tactical and night flying. It has been selected by more than twenty air forces as...


|
| Light Training Aircraft
| 13
| Painted yellow/red before, now black with 2 yellow markings
|-
! style="align: center; background: lavender;" colspan="7" | Transporters
Military transport aircraft
Military transport aircraft are typically fixed and rotary wing cargo aircraft which are used to deliver troops, weapons and other military equipment by a variety of methods to any area of military operations around the surface of the planet, usually outside of the commercial flight routes in...


|-
| Lockheed C-130H-30 Hercules
|
| Medium transport aircraft
| 4
| 2 ex-US Navy EC-130Q's were converted to C-130H for RNLAF by Marshall Aerospace. Upon completion of the contract the 2 C-130H-30s will be updated the same standard as the 2 short fuselage C-130Hs.
|-
| Fokker 50
|
| Light utility aircraft
| 2
| Used for utility transport and medical evacuation. Official already out of service, but still being used to remain airworthy. To be sold.
|-
| McDonnell Douglas KDC-10
KC-10 Extender
The McDonnell Douglas KC-10 Extender is the military adaptation of the three-engined DC-10 airliner for the United States Air Force . The KC-10 incorporates military-specific equipment for its primary roles of transport and aerial refueling. It was developed to supplement the KC-135 Stratotanker...


|
| Wide body transport aircraft
| 2
| Aerial refuelling and passenger/cargo transport.
|-
| Gulfstream IV
|
| Light utility aircraft
| 1
| VIP transport
|-
| Dornier 228
|
| Coastal patrol duties
| 2
| Wearing civil registrations but with military (air force and navy) crews
|-
! style="align: center; background: lavender;" colspan="7" | Helicopters
|-
| Aérospatiale SA316B Alouette III
Aérospatiale Alouette III
The Aérospatiale Alouette III is a single-engine, light utility helicopter developed by Sud Aviation. It was manufactured by Aérospatiale of France, and under licence by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited in India as Hal Chetak and Industria Aeronautică Română in Romania.The Alouette III is the...


|
| Light VIP helicopter
| 4
| Only used for aerial photography and Royal/VIP flights
|-
| Agusta-Bell 412
Bell 412
The Bell 412 is a utility helicopter manufactured by Bell Helicopter. It is a development of the Bell 212 model, the major difference being the composite four-blade main rotor.-Design and development:...


|
| Light SAR and utility helicopter
| 3
| SAR role, supporting the RNLAF training area over Vlieland
Vlieland
Vlieland is a municipality in the northern Netherlands. The municipality of Vlieland has only one major town: Oost-Vlieland . It is the second-least densely populated municipality in the Netherlands ....

 and the Wadden Sea
Wadden Sea
The Wadden Sea is an intertidal zone in the southeastern part of the North Sea. It lies between the coast of northwestern continental Europe and the range of Frisian Islands, forming a shallow body of water with tidal flats and wetlands. It is rich in biological diversity...

. Will be disposed of under 2011 spending plans.
|-
| Boeing AH-64D Apache
|
| Attack helicopter
| 29
| (30 were procured but 1 crashed in 2004). Dutch Apaches are AH-64D but without the AN/APG-78 Longbow radar. Equipped with the Apache Arrowhead
Apache arrowhead
The Apache Arrowhead , is an integrated targeting and night vision system developed by Lockheed Martin for the Boeing AH-64 Apache attack helicopter...

 sensor upgrade. All are to be upgraded to the Block II standard.
|-
| Eurocopter AS 532U2 Cougar Mk2
Eurocopter Cougar
-See also:-External links:* *...


|
| Medium utility helicopter
| 8
| Mid-Life Update programme as of 2009. A total of 17 ordered, but 9 were put in storage as part of budget cuts.
|-
| Boeing CH-47D/F Chinook
CH-47 Chinook
The Boeing CH-47 Chinook is an American twin-engine, tandem rotor heavy-lift helicopter. Its top speed of 170 knots is faster than contemporary utility and attack helicopters of the 1960s...


|
| Heavy lift helicopter
| 17
| 7 former Canadian Forces
Canadian Forces
The Canadian Forces , officially the Canadian Armed Forces , are the unified armed forces of Canada, as constituted by the National Defence Act, which states: "The Canadian Forces are the armed forces of Her Majesty raised by Canada and consist of one Service called the Canadian Armed Forces."...

 CH-47C were sold to the Dutch in 1991 and modernized to D standard. 6 new CH-47D in 1995 for a total of 13. 6 CH-47Fs on order (4 new and 2 to replace losses) and options for 2 CH-47Fs
|-
| Westland Lynx
Westland Lynx
The Westland Lynx is a British multi-purpose military helicopter designed and built by Westland Helicopters at its factory in Yeovil. Originally intended as a utility craft for both civil and naval usage, military interest led to the development of both battlefield and naval variants...


|
| ASW, SAR and MEDEVAC duties
| 21
| Only 10 still operational thanks to life prolonging maintenance. This was necessary due to delivery delays of the NH-90. One is held by Libyan pro-Qadhafi forces after a failed attempt to rescue two people from Libya on February the 27th.) Wearing Koninklijke Marine titles but since July 4, 2008 they belong to the Defensie Helikopter Commando (DHC), or Defence Helicopter Command.
|-
| NH Industries NH-90
|
| NATO frigate helicopter
| 20
| Deliveries will start in 2010. 12 NFH-90s for use aboard frigates and destroyers and 8 (+2 in option) Tactical NFH to replace 300 Sq Eurocopter AS 532U2 Cougar Mk2
Eurocopter Cougar
-See also:-External links:* *...


The future

  • 85 F-35A Lightning II
    F-35 Lightning II
    The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is a family of single-seat, single-engine, fifth generation multirole fighters under development to perform ground attack, reconnaissance, and air defense missions with stealth capability...

     are expected to replace the F-16 fleet, but owing to rising costs, the decision has yet to be made.


  • 20 NH90
    NHI NH90
    The NHIndustries NH90 is a medium sized, twin-engine, multi-role military helicopter manufactured by NHIndustries. The first prototype had its maiden flight in December 1995...

     helicopters will replace the current Navy Lynx
    Westland Lynx
    The Westland Lynx is a British multi-purpose military helicopter designed and built by Westland Helicopters at its factory in Yeovil. Originally intended as a utility craft for both civil and naval usage, military interest led to the development of both battlefield and naval variants...

     helicopters. The NH90
    NHI NH90
    The NHIndustries NH90 is a medium sized, twin-engine, multi-role military helicopter manufactured by NHIndustries. The first prototype had its maiden flight in December 1995...

     helicopters will be stationed at Gilze-Rijen
    Gilze-Rijen Air Base
    Gilze-Rijen Air Base is a military airbase in the Netherlands located between the cities of Breda and Tilburg, in the Noord-Brabant province. It is mainly, but not exclusively used as a base for attack helicopters. The airfield has two runways, the longest, complete with instrument landing...

     (8 NH-90 Naval Transport version and SAR) and De Kooy
    De Kooy
    De Kooy Airfield is an airfield south of Den Helder, the Netherlands, named after the nearby hamlet De Kooy. It serves as both a civilian airport under the name Den Helder Airport and a naval airport under the name Maritiem Vliegkamp De Kooy .Most movements on the De Kooy are made by...

     (12 NFH-90 anti-submarine warfare).


The Netherlands was the first country to sign up for the Production Sustainment and Follow On Development (PSFD) Phase of the F-35 Lightning II
F-35 Lightning II
The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is a family of single-seat, single-engine, fifth generation multirole fighters under development to perform ground attack, reconnaissance, and air defense missions with stealth capability...

 aircraft.

Through the NATO Strategic Airlift Capability
NATO Strategic Airlift Capability
The Strategic Airlift Capability is a consortium of 12 nations, 10 of which are member states of NATO and two of which are Partners For Peace, to pool together resources to purchase and operate Boeing C-17 Globemaster III aircraft for joint strategic airlift purposes.The SAC concept was...

, the RNLAF has access to three C-17
C-17 Globemaster III
The Boeing C-17 Globemaster III is a large military transport aircraft. Developed for the United States Air Force from the 1980s to the early 1990s by McDonnell Douglas, the C-17 is used for rapid strategic airlift of troops and cargo to main operating bases or forward operating bases throughout...

s.

Replacement for the F-16

The Netherlands Air Force wants to replace its F-16 fleet in the next decade. Candidates for the replacement were the Dassault
Dassault Aviation
Dassault Aviation is a French aircraft manufacturer of military, regional and business jets, a subsidiary of Dassault Group.It was founded in 1930 by Marcel Bloch as Société des Avions Marcel Bloch or "MB". After World War II, Marcel Bloch changed his name to Marcel Dassault, and the name of the...

 Rafale, Lockheed Martin's F-16 Block 52/60, the Eurofighter Typhoon
Eurofighter Typhoon
The Eurofighter Typhoon is a twin-engine, canard-delta wing, multirole combat aircraft, designed and built by a consortium of three companies: EADS, Alenia Aeronautica and BAE Systems; working through a holding company, Eurofighter GmbH, which was formed in 1986...

, the Saab Gripen and Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin is an American global aerospace, defense, security, and advanced technology company with worldwide interests. It was formed by the merger of Lockheed Corporation with Martin Marietta in March 1995. It is headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, in the Washington Metropolitan Area....

s F-35
F-35 Lightning II
The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is a family of single-seat, single-engine, fifth generation multirole fighters under development to perform ground attack, reconnaissance, and air defense missions with stealth capability...

. In 2002 The Netherlands signed a MOU (Memoradum Of Understanding) to co-develop the F-35 as a 'Tier 2' Partner. That deal is worth around 800 million US dollars, advanced by the Dutch government on behalf of Dutch industries: After the demise of Fokker Aircraft, the government wanted to retain whatever aerospace industry it could.

The F-35 seemed to be the best replacement for the F-16. But Saab
Saab
Saab AB is a Swedish aerospace and defence company, founded in 1937. From 1947 to 1990 it was the parent company of automobile manufacturer Saab Automobile, and between 1968 and 1995 the company was in a merger with commercial vehicle manufacturer Scania, known as Saab-Scania.-History:"Svenska...

 is now offering their latest aircraft, the Saab Gripen NG (Next Generation), to The Netherlands at a much lower price (including maintenance for its entire lifespan). The Netherlands did compare the Saab Gripen NG and the F-35 in early 2009 and the F-35 came out on top. Many sources and signs indicate that the F-35 will be the next fighter of the Royal Netherlands Air Force.

In early 2008, a decision was put before Parliament to buy two test aircraft for Dutch pilots to train in the US. But instead, in April 2009 it was decided to buy just one test aircraft and defer the final decision as to what to buy to 2011, after the elections. The new government announced plans to acquire the second test aircraft in April 2011 in order to remain with the test program, but a next government and Parliament will review the whole process again while opposition to the F-35 is growing ever stronger. Reasons for this are ever rising costs, uncertainty about the exact cost of the aircraft, slips in the schedule of delivery and thus uncertainty about delivery dates. Also, Dutch industries have been complaining about their offsets from the USA.

See also

  • No. 322 Squadron RAF
    No. 322 Squadron RAF
    No. 322 Squadron of the Royal Air Force was a Fighter Squadron during the Second World War-History:No. 322 Squadron of the Royal Air Force was formed from the Dutch personnel of No. 167 Squadron RAF on 12 June 1943 at RAF Woodvale. The squadron retained the code-letter combination VL which had...

  • Royal Netherlands East Indies Army Air Force
    Royal Netherlands East Indies Army Air Force
    The Royal Netherlands East Indies Army Air Force was the air arm of the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army in the Dutch East Indies from 1939 until 1950...

  • Solo Display Team
    Solo Display Team
    The Solo Display Team is the aerobatics display team of the Royal Netherlands Air Force and consists of three elements. The F-16 Solo Display Team uses the fighter jet F-16, the PC-7 Solo Display Team flies the low-wing tandem-seat training aircraft Pilatus PC-7 and the Apache Solo Display Team...


External links

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