F-16 Fighting Falcon
The Royal Netherlands Air Force selected the F-16 as a replacement for the F-104 Starfighter and later also as replacement for the NF-5 Freedom Fighter. The jets were built under license by Fokker Aircraft Company. With 213 F-16's ordered in three badges the RNLAF was the second largest operator of the type next to the United States Air Force. The F-16 operated with 9 Squadrons when the final delivery was made in 1990.
With the delivery in 1994 of the first C-130H-30 Hercules to the Royal Netherlands Air Force 334 Squadron at Eindhoven, the RNLAF added a valuable asset to the renewed transport fleet. Together with the DC-10 Transport and KD-C-10 Tanker/Transport it made it possible to support deployment of Dutch troops to other parts of the world without being fully dependent on other NATO Allies.
Together with two Fokker F50's the Royal Netherlands Air Force also ordered 4 Fokker 60s. Being stretched 1.62 metres longer than the F50 for a total length of 26.87 metres it has a large cargo door on the right side immediately behind the cockpit. Only four planes were built, all of them delivered to the Royal Netherlands Air Force. All Fokkers where were part of 334 Squadron based at Eindhoven airbase.
G1159 Gulfstream IV
The Gulfstream G IV is in use with the Royal Netherlands Air Force since April 1st 1996. Due to the changed employment of the Air Force the need raised for a medium classed business jet to transport civil and military authorities over large distances.
KDC-10 Tanker / DC-10 Transport
In June 1992 the Royal Netherlands Air Force bought two DC-10 wide body airliners from Martinair Airlines. Both DC-10 were converted to multi-role tanker/transports and entered service in 1995. The modifications included the installation of a boom system and external lights, electrical and hydraulic systems and a "RARO" (Remote Air Refueling Operating) station to operate the boom .
PC-7 Turbo Trainer
The Royal Netherlands Air Force aquired ten PC-7 trainers in 1989 as elementary and lead in trainer with 131 Squadron at Woensdrecht Air Base. All pilots of the RNLAF, either helictopter, transport or F-16, start in the PC-7 Turbo Trainer in a 7 months course,before going to the specific type training that mainly takes place in the U.S.A. In 1997 again three examples where ordered making the tolal of the PC-7 fleet thirtheen aircraft.
In 1993 the Royal Netherlands Air Force ordered three AB412SP Helicopters to replace the aging Alouette III's that operated for 25 years in the Search and Rescue (SAR) role. All three helicopters are based at Leeuwarden Air Base with 303 SAR Squadron. Because of the mainly yellow colors of the Agusta Bells their nickname is Tweety, named after the cartoon bird.
The Royal Netherlands Air Force ordered 30 AH-64D Apaches in 1996, after leasing 12 AH-64A Apaches from the U.S. Army. The Longbow radardomes were not included, hence the Dutch AH-64Ds are not referred to as Longbows. The Apaches are operated by two units; 21 are operated by 301 Squadron at Gilze-Rijen and 8 are permanently stationed at Fort Hood, Texas for the training of new crews.
In 1993 the Royal Netherlands Air Force ordered 17 AS532U2 Cougars in the light of the changing defense strategy to more flexible and mobile quick reaction forces. Together with the CH-47D Chinooks from sister unit 298 Squadron, the Cougars of 300 Squadron have as main task to support the Army's Air Mobile Brigade.
With the introduction of the new Air Mobile Brigade of the Royal Netherlands Army the then operational fleet of Bo-105's and Alouette III's were incapable of supporting this new unit. An extensive upgrade of the Dutch helicopter force was needed and the introduction of three new types to the newly formed Tactical Helicopter Group was realised: the AS532 Cougar, the AH-64D Apache and the CH-47D Chinook.
SA316 Alouette III
Currently four Alouettes remain operational with the Alouette flight of 300 Squadron. The role they perform now is mainly liaison, VIP flights, photo flights and the support of the Royal Family. The Alouettes or Bleubirds as they are sometimes called due to their colour, are already record holders for being the longest serving aircraft in the history of the Royal Netherlands Air Force, and will at least be in service until 2012, a career of 50 years!