‘Volkel to become main Dutch airbase’

A Leeuwarden based Dutch F-16 in colourful markings of 323 squadron. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
A Leeuwarden based Dutch F-16 in colourful markings of 323 squadron. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

According to several Dutch newspapers (Dutch only), Volkel is to become the main operating base for the F-35A Lightning II aircraft. Of the 37 aircraft about to be ordered, 25 are to be based in Volkel in the southern part of the Netherlands. The rest of the aircraft will be used for training in the United States, for missions abroad and for exercises at Leeuwarden airbase, now still home to two F-16 squadrons.

The reports are based on Dutch MoD findings, although officials will not comment on them. Suggestions are that one Leeuwarden’s F-16 squadrons (322 and 323) will face the axe. The most famous Dutch air force unit is 322 Squadron, which finds its roots in World War II. The squadron’s mascot is a parrot. The other unit is 323 Squadron, also occupied with tactical training and airborne tests.

In the end, Leeuwarden will be home to no more than twelve F-35’s, according to the newspaper reports.

© 2013 AIRheads’ Elmer van Hest

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