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July 8, 2022

RNLAF establishes new ACC and redeploys four F-35 aircraft

The RNLAF’s 313 Squadron was temporarily deactivated as an F-16 squadron in December 2020.

The Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) has commissioned a new Air Combat Command (ACC), reorganising its air command and control arrangements.

This was marked by a ceremony, during which the RNLAF commander lieutenant general Dennis Luyt handed over the command banner to new ACC first commander commodore Johan van Deventer.

The newly created ACC consists of two operational fighter bases at Leeuwarden in the North and Volkel in the South, as well as an Air Operations Control Station (AOCS) at Nieuw-Milligen in the centre of the Netherlands.

Simultaneously, the RNLAF has redeployed four of its F-35 fighter jets to Volkel Air Base in the Netherlands, re-establishing the 313 Squadron as a fifth-generation fighter unit.

The first four fifth-generation fighter jets landed at Volkel Air Base on 30 June.

Deventer said: “Within this new organisation we join combat capability of all our F-35s, F-16s, MQ-9s, air battle management, targeting and datalink management under one commander.

“We operate from three locations, with 13 squadrons, as one information-driven team within a new RNLAF command structure.

“By delegating responsibilities to lower levels, we increase our agility enabling quick adjustments to rapidly change the operational environment.”

Also called Netherlands’ Tiger Squadron, the 313 Squadron was temporarily deactivated as an F-16 squadron in December 2020.

After the deactivation, associated pilots and ground crews were converted to the fifth-generation F-35 aircraft at Leeuwarden Air Base.

With the latest redeployment of F-35s, the Volkel Air Base now has two squadrons with two types of fighter jets.

It includes the 313 Squadron flying the F-35s and the 312 Squadron flying the F-16 aircraft.

The 312 Squadron will continue to fly F-16s for the next two years. Following the aircraft’s retirement, the squadron will convert to F-35s.

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