F-16 Fighting Falcons of the RNLAF 312th Squadron took part in a readiness exercise at Volkel Air Base.
The 71-year old Squadron, known as the “Bonzo Squadron”, is the last Dutch F-16 Squadron, operating the Viper (as the Fighting Falcon jet is nicknamed in the fighter pilots community) since 1985.
For the readiness drill, the ground crews formed an impressive line-up of 16 F-16AM block 20s on the cross servicing flightline. Around 13:15LT fourteen engines started up after which a small ‘Elephant Walk‘ took place on the runway 24R/06L followed by the take off of thirteen jets.
Ons 312 squadron zette vandaag veertien F-16’s tegelijk in.
Het was waarschijnlijk de laatste keer dat we met zo veel F-16’s op onze vliegbasis gelijktijdig klaarstonden voor inzet.
Dankzij de inzet van onze collega’s werd de oefening in goede banen geleid. #F16 @312Cdt pic.twitter.com/bYhP2A3ls4
— Vliegbasis Volkel (@VlbVolkel) December 8, 2023
It is believed that a total of 24 airframes are still in service with the RNLAF. However, two F-16s made their last flight this Friday and the overall number of mission capable jets will gradually decrease approaching the upcoming retirement planned for September 2024.
Thereafter, the “Bonzo Squadron” will become the third F-35A unit of the Royal Netherlands Air Force.