Dutch Viper driver leads the pack against ISIS

Hands up! When the ground crew check the aircraft after landing, pilots have to show them they're not touching anything! (Image © Dennis Spronk)
Hands up! When the ground crew check the aircraft after landing, pilots have to show them they’re not touching anything! (Image © Dennis Spronk)

Over the weekend, coalition air forces once against struck Islamic State (ISIS) targets. One mission, consisting of 15 combat aircraft, was led by a Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) F-16 pilot, marking the first time in twenty years a Dutch pilot was in charge of a large strike formation.

The strike was carried out in the vicinity of Mosul in northern Iraq, targeting munition depots and a command center, say Dutch authorities. Aircraft involved were four Dutch F-16, a US Air Force Rockwell B-1B bomber and a Royal Air Force E-3 AWACS.

A Dutch commander was apparently chosen because the Dutch performed well since the beginning of Operation Inherent Resolve, the name given to the operation that is meant to drive ISIS force out of Iraq and Syria, although Dutch pilots are only allowed to operate over the former.

The last time a Dutch Viper driver led a large bomber package was on 21 November 1994 during the war in former Yugoslavia. On that day, a formation of close to 40 NATO aircraft short of obliterated Udbina Airbase in Croatia, used by Bosnian Serb aircraft.

© 2014 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest