Leeuwarden Air Base

Leeuwarden Air Base (Dutch: Vliegbasis Leeuwarden) is a military airbase used by the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) - Dutch: Koninklijke Luchtmacht (KLu), (IATA: LHW, ICAO: EHLW). The airbase is one of the two F-16 Fighting Falcon bases of the RNLAF. The airbase lies North-West of the capital of Friesland, Leeuwarden.

Leeuwarden Air Base is also one of the three military airbases (together with Gilze-Rijen Air Base and Volkel Air Base), which organises the annual public open days of the Royal Netherlands Air Force, consisting of an air show and static exhibits.

History

The airport of Leeuwarden was built in 1938, and originally was used as an airport between Schiphol – Eelde. In the beginning the airport was used infrequently, but when the Germans invaded the country in 1940, the situation changed. The Germans used the airport as a base for their fighter aircraft (including the Messerschmitt Bf 109) and bombers. From this airbase the Germans could reach Great Britain. During World War II, on the 16th and 17th of September 1944, the airbase was heavily bombed by the British.

After the liberation of the Netherlands, the airbase was repaired. The first years after the war the airport was used as a civil airport, and the KLM flew to Schiphol. In 1949, Leeuwarden became a military airbase.

Current role

Nowadays, there are two F-16 Squadrons based in military airbase Leeuwarden: the "swing-role" No. 322 Squadron RNLAF with its mascot Polly Grey, and its motto: "Niet praten, maar doen!"; and the Tactical Training Evaluation and Standardisation (TACTES) No. 323 Squadron RNLAF. It is also the home base of the No. 303 (Search and Rescue) Squadron RNLAF, where three Agusta AB-412SP are based, which is part of the newly formed Defence Helicopter Command (DHC).

The airport is the location of the annual NATO exercise "Frisian Flag", and the Fighter Weapons Instructor Training (FWIT). In 2006 and 2008 the airport was open to the public.

Units
  • 303 Squadron Augusta Bell-412SP
  • 322 Squadron F-16
  • 323 Squadron F-16 (TACTES)
  • 920th Maintenance Squadron
  • 921st Logistics Squadron
  • 922nd Support Squadron
  • 931st Squadron