Dutch Air Force reactivates 313 Squadron at Volkel AB with F-35 fighters

Volkel AB welcomes first F-35A fighters.

On June 30th, 2022, the Royal Dutch Air Force (“Koninklijke Luchtmacht”) celebrated three big changes in the organization at Volkel Airbase (ICAO:EHVK).

- The arrival of the F-35
- The resurrection of 313 squadron
- The organizational change into the “Air Combat Command”

Air Combat Command

The Dutch Air Force consists of 2 operational fighter bases: Leeuwarden Airbase (ICAO: EHLW) in the north and Volkel Airbase (ICAO:EHVK) in the south. Plus the fighter control center AOCS (Air Operations Control Station) based at Nieuw-Milligen, located in the center of the Netherlands.

All three organizations ceased to exist as separate entities on June 30th and they were combined into one command “Air Combat Command”, under the command of Commodore Johan van Deventer. The Dutch Air Force commander luitenant-generaal Dennis

Luyt, handed over the new “Air Combat Command” banner to the new AAC commander Commodore van Deventer.

313 squadron

The 313 squadron is the Dutch Tiger squadron, present at many NATO Tiger Meets throughout the years.

On December 18, 2020, the 313 squadron was temporarily disbanded and stopped flying the Lockheed Martin F-16. With a formation flyby, this moment was celebrated (see archive photo below).

Then the pilots and the crews converted to the Lockheed Martin F-35 at Leeuwarden Airbase. And on June 30, 2022, the 313 squadron was resurrected as an F-35 squadron at its homebase Volkel.

Lieutenant-Colonel Niels Hussen flew the F-35 in the formation of four F-35s and taxied after landing to the ceremonial place with his F-35 (coded F-024). There he held a speech to celebrate the resurrection of the 313 squadron.

F-35 arrival 

With the official arrival of the Lockheed Martin F-35, Volkel Airbase now has two squadrons with two jet fighter types. 312 squadron flying the Lockheed Martin F-16 and 313 squadron flying the F-35. For the next two years, 312 squadron will keep on flying the F-16 and then they will convert to the F-35 after the retirement of their F-16s [The Dutch Ministry of Defense recently revealed plans to accelerate the purchase of six more F-35As to reach a total of 52 aircraft].

Text and Pics: Joris van Boven and Alex van Noije

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