Dutch F-16s are provided enhanced situational awareness thanks to the F-35's sensors and data link system. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

Dutch and Belgian F-16s to fight ISIS

A Dutch F-16 caught on camera. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
A Dutch F-16 caught on camera. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

The Dutch government has decided to send six F-16s (plus two reserves) to join the air strikes against Islamic State ISIS (also known as ISIL), it was formally announced in The Hague on Wednesday 24 September. It concerns F-16s of number 322 sqaudron, normally based in Leeuwarden. A total of 250 military personnel will be involved. Meanwhile, Belgium is also sending six F-16s to support operations.

Air strikes against ISIS in Syria started this week, with fighter aircraft from the US, Jordan, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates taking part. Earlier, US and French bombers already struck targets in Iraq.

The Dutch F-16s will for now only take part in anti-ISIS operations over Iraq, as that country has formally requested international support in its fight against Islamic militants. Syria has not asked for help. No deployment base or country has been named yet, but Jordan is named by the Belgians as destination.

Royal Netherlands Air Force Lockheed Martin F-16AM fighter aircraft are currently also involved in NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission. Five F-16s are stationed in Malbork, Poland, to protect the Baltic states against intruders from the east.

© 2014 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest

A flight of Belgian Fighting Falcons, preparing for take off. (Image © Elmer van Hest)