Royal Netherlands Air Force declares IOC for its F-35 fighters


The Netherlands has been officially declared Initial Operational Capable (IOC) with the F-35 squadron. This means that Defense is able to deploy a unit of 4 F-35s with personnel and equipment anywhere in the world for a short period of time.

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Royal Netherlands Air Force declares IOC for its F 35 Joint Strike Fighters 01

Lockheed Martin F-35A of the Royal Netherlands Air Force (Picture source: Royal Netherlands Air Force)


To achieve the IOC, the F-35 squadron moved from Leeuwarden to the Volkel air base last year for exercise Frisian Lightning II. The aim was to prepare the unit for a move in the shortest possible time. Exercise Frisian Lightning I previously trained the packing and preparation of equipment and spare parts. The air force also performed a similar maneuver from the Leeuwarden air base to the United States this year.

“With this we are taking another important step in our transition to a future-proof air force. I expect that on our path to full operational capability we will enter a period of heavy deployment of this wonderful new weapon system. Just as we have seen almost continuous deployment of F-16s over the past 30 years, more is only possible with this ‘next level’ fighter aircraft,” Lieutenant General Dennis Luyt, the commander of the Royal Netherlands Air Force, said declaring the IOC on December 27.

The F-35 replaces the F-16 with which the Air Force has been flying since 1979. The Netherlands ordered a total of 46 F-35.


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