40 years of Dutch F-16s

At Volkel Air Base, the Koninklijke Luchtmacht (KLu or Royal Netherlands Air Force) celebrated the F-16 Fighting Falcon’s 40th anniversary in KLu service on June 7. F-16AM J-642, delivered in January 1984 and earmarked for retirement later this year, had its tail painted in anniversary marking for the occasion. The KLu took delivery of 213 F-16s (177 F-16As and 36 F-16Bs) between June 7, 1979 and February 27, 1992. A total of 139 were upgraded in the Mid-Life Upgrade (MLU) programme around the turn of the century. Today, some 60 remain in the inventory, flown by 322 Tactical Training, Evaluation and Standardisation Squadron (TACTESS) and the Kantoor Testvliegen (KTV, Flight Test Office) at Leeuwarden; 312 and 313 Squadrons at Volkel; and the 148th Fighter Squadron at Tucson International Airport, Arizona. The type is scheduled to be fully replaced by the F-35A Lightning II in 2024. Kees van der Mark