Tag Archives: Royal Netherlands Air Force

Dutch Government says their F-35 fighter jets could carry nuclear weapons

In September 2013, the Dutch Government announced the decision to buy 37 F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets to replace the F-16s of the Royal Netherlands Air Force.

The first Dutch pilot, Maj.  Laurens J.W. Vijge flew for the first time in the F-35A Lightning II on Dec. 18, making the Netherlands the second partner country to fly the fifth-generation plane after the UK.

Whereas the two aircraft currently stationed at Eglin Air Force Base, where Dutch planes and personnel were incorporated into the U.S. Air Force’s 58th Fighter Squadron at the 33rd Fighter Wing that provides training for both U.S. and allied countries.

On Jan. 14, the news that the F-35 could carry nuclear weapons, made the news after some media outlets reported  that the Minister of Defense has recently affirmed that, as a NATO member, the Netherlands could be called to perform a nuclear task.

Indeed, there are about 20 U.S. nuclear bombs stored in the Netherlands: such bombs could be carried by RNlAF F-16s in case of war. However, a motion in the Dutch parliament urged the government to prevent the Fighting Falcon’s successor to carry nukes.

But the Ministry of Defense responded that the nuclear task is foreseen by the North Atlantic treaty and, as a NATO commitment, it can’t be unilaterally ended.

By the way, F-35 can’t carry B-61s as of yet but they will probably get such a capability when the rest of the payload is tested and qualified for use with the JSF.

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

 

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Fighter jets, cargo aircraft, warbirds and choppers of the Volkel Airshow 2013

On Jun. 14 and 15, Volkel airbase, in the Netherlands, the military installation where 22 U.S. nuclear bombs are housed, hosted the airshow that celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Royal Netherlands Air Force.

The Aviationist’s photographer Tony Lovelock was there and took the following images of some of the most interesting attendees.

All images: Tony Lovelock

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Twenty-two American nuclear bombs stored in the Netherlands

In a recently aired documentary on Dutch Military Aviation called “De tijd vliegt” former Dutch prime-minister Ruud Lubbers has more or less admitted that American nuclear weapons are stored at Volkel.

He claims to have been a part of covering up their existence in the RNLAF data systems during his conscript service though wether this would really be trusted to a conscript is a bit iffy. Funnily enough USAFE seems a lot less concerned with secrecy about the presence of B-61 nuclear weapons at Volkel because they released the following image to the public in 2008:

B61 inert

Image credit: USAFE/

Though this shows a training round in its vault, the description clearly mentions this as Volkel airbase in The Netherlands. It would seem only logical that where there are training rounds there will also be live rounds.

Noteworthy a far better image of a B-61 nuclear bomb appeared on a Facebook page. It was posted by a relative of  a Munitions Maintenance Squadron service member. Although it was an official image posted on the public domain, it was removed few hours later (maybe as it showed all the unit’s personnel next to the bomb).

Here below is a crop of that image.

B61 close up

If Mr. Lubbers’s remarks are correctly interpreted there are about 22 “devices of a nuclear nature” at Volkel Airbase.

This is Mr. Lubbers his first faux-pas in recent times, he also spoke openly about his consults with the Dutch former queen, now princess, Beatrix which is not strictly illegal but not done either.

Following Mr. Lubbers’s “outing” questions were raised wether his remarks were illegal.

Dutch member of parliament Sjoerd Sjoerdsma of the Democrats ’66 party asked formal questions of the prime minister wether the remarks made by Mr. Lubbers were true.

Minister of defence Ms. Jeanine Hennis denied to comment on wether they were true saying that it is government policy to discuss wether or not nuclear weapons are present in The Netherlands. Minister of Internal Affairs Mr. Timmermans will be sending a letter to parliament next week clarifying Dutch policies on nuclear weapons.

Then, another former prime-minister, Mr. Dries van Agt, also openly admitted that there are nuclear weapons at Volkel. He told reporters wednesday: “They are still there and it is ridiculious that they are still there.” Both men are members of the same Christian Democratic party called the CDA.

He acknowledges that the presence of these weapons is a state secret but he claimed that by now it has become a public secret.

The fact that both these gentlemen openly discuss this issue that for long has been shrouded in secrecy almost feels like there is a larger political drive about to happen to remove these weapons. Like so often in these situations first the former politicians, who have nothing to lose, make the issue discussable after which the active politicians finish the job, so to speak.

Written with Lieuwe de Vries

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Google doesn’t want you to see Volkel Airbase (The Netherlands) from above

The following image is a screenshot from GoogleEarth.

It shows Volkel airbase, the Netherlands, blocked out by Google because it is one of the European sites hosting a U.S. nuclear weapon repository.

Volkel is the base of the 312 and 313 Sqn of the RNlAF (Royal Netherlands Air Force): according to Wikipedia, Dutch F-16AMs can at times be seen carrying BDU-38 dummy bombs, which are used to simulate the B61 nuclear bombs, 22 of those are believed to be stored there (as of 2008).

By the way, Bing Maps shows all the base but the northern part, that is blacked-out.

Volkel AB

Someone told this author that the reason for blurring the airport is to comply with the request by the Dutch authorities to hide military installations. Still, this would not explain why Leeuwarden airbase is clearly visibile on Google Earth.

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Netherlands and Germany ready to deploy Patriot missiles to defend Turkish border with Syria

NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen tweeted on Monday Nov. 19 that NATO would consider a request from Turkey to deploy Patriot anti-missile systems along its border with Syria.

Al Arabia website quotes Rasmussen as saying: “we will consider any request as a matter of urgency.” Rasmussen went on to add: “The situation on the Syria-Turkey border is of great concern. We have all the plans ready to defend and protect Turkey if needed. The plans will be adjusted if necessary to ensure effective protection of Turkey.”

Only two countries in Europe operate the Patriot anti-missile system, those being The Netherlands and Germany. German Defence Minister Thomas de Maiziere was quoted as saying the he expected a request on Monday.

Image credit: NATO

Dutch News website Volksrant says that the Dutch government has positive thoughts towards the request and would seek to gain a majority verdict in the Dutch Parliament. It should be pointed out that the Netherlands deployed its Patriots to Turkey during both Gulf Wars to provide protection from Iraqi Scuds.

Similar noises are coming out of Berlin. According to the German website DW, the deployment would be the first ever to a war zone for the anti-aircraft missile squadron.

[Read also: Photo: Israel – American exercise reaches its peak with actual Patriot launchings]

Based near the German town of Husum near the Danish border the Patriots have never been fired and according to DW the German government has sought to save costs by halving the Patriot capability by 2015 and will remove them from service totally by 2025.

One or two German units could be deployed very soon, although the German government is concerned as they do not want to be drawn into the Syrian civil war.

As of writing, no formal announcement has been made as to whether Turkey has made a request or if it has, whether NATO has agreed to send the missiles to the border area, nothing has been released on the NATO website.

Richard Clements for TheAviationist.com

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