Military aviation information – Scannernet.nl

Info Military aviation (Mil-air)

Air force bases

Air force bases are spread all over the Netherlands. Each base has a specialization. The Air Force’s F-16s and F-35s are stationed at Leeuwarden (EHLW) and Volkel (EHVK) air bases. Transportfly has Eindhoven (EHEH) as its home base. Gilze-Rijen Air Base (EHGR) plays a central role in the Defense Helicopter Command (DHC). Woensdrecht Air Base (EHWO) differs from the other bases because this base houses a number of units that have a task for the entire air force in training, logistics and meteorology.

Leeuwarden Air Base

Leeuwarden Air Base (EHLW) is located northwest of the city of Leeuwarden. The Dutch F-35s are stationed at the air base. Leeuwarden Air Base provides 24/7 (periodic) protection of Benelux airspace against unidentified air threats (Quick Reaction Alert). In 2023, the air base will have access to 4 unmanned reconnaissance aircraft, the MQ-9 Reaper. The airport has 2 runways: RWY 5/23 and RWY 9/27.

Map Leeuwarden Air Base (EHLW)

Traffic control Dutch Mil

Air Operations Control Station Nieuw Milligen (AOCS NM) is located in Nieuw Milligen. Air traffic control in the military parts of Dutch airspace over land and over part of the North Sea is in the hands of the “Dutch Mil”. They are capable of operating military and civil air traffic safely and efficiently. The traffic control provided by Dutch Mil consists of 3 main tasks:

  • General traffic control
  • Approach control in military terminal control areas (TMAs)
  • Flight information

The approach control for the military air bases and MVK de Kooij is located in Nieuw Milligen. They provide guidance in Radar Approach Control or RAPCON clusters. These are:

  • RAPCON North (Leeuwarden)
  • RAPCON South (Volkel and Eindhoven)
  • RAPCON Vest

They monitor the departure and approach procedures of these airports with radar and they monitor the flight movements around them. As Dutch Mil Info, they guide smaller aviation and military traffic flying through military airspace under visual conditions (VFR = Visual Flight Rules).

combat command

The Combat Command (call sign “Bandbox”) is a crisis and war mission and also part of NATO’s integrated air defense system. The Control and Reporting Center (CRC) monitors and coordinates the defense of Dutch and NATO airspace by performing a number of basic tasks for which the Air Command Control System (ACCS) is available. These basic tasks are:

  • Fighter Control: Coordination of aircraft movements in the air defense role.
  • Air Battle Management: Carrying out a series of command actions to coordinate NATO battle management.
  • Aerial surveillance: monitoring of the aerial image using radar (24/7).
  • SAM control: coordination of the deployment of ground-based air defense within the NATO area.
  • Alerting: alerting other armed forces (sub)units.
  • Air police: conducting interceptions in the air.

For air policing, a few F-16s are always on Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) at one of the two remaining main operating bases (Leeuwarden Air Base or Volkel). This means that they can be in the air in a very short time. Following an order from the CRC, the so-called Scramble, they immediately begin intercepting an ‘unknown’ aircraft.

The Dutch airspace is monitored using the two larger ground radars (Nieuw Milligen and Wier). It is checked whether aircraft have a flight plan, the correct transponder codes and whether they are following the correct flight route. Deviations always lead to radio contact with the aircraft in question; the call sign used here is ‘Bandbox’. If this has no effect, the plane will be intercepted by F-16s.

Air to Air (A/A)

Air-to-air (A/A) includes air-to-air operations. There are different types of A/A operations in military aviation. Some examples of this are:

  • Air-to-air refueling (AAR)
  • Interceptions/Visual Identification (VID)
  • Basic Fighter Maneuvers (BFM)
  • Flight formation
  • Escort flights
  • Combat Air Patrol (CAP)

Areas of practice

Training and exercises take place daily, which require specific skills that a military pilot must master. Low flying and flying in the dark are examples of this. These are indispensable skills that make all the difference in dangerous and risky situations. In the Netherlands, a number of areas have been designated as practice areas (see the picture below). These areas also include the Vliehors Range. This area is located on the westernmost part of the Wadden island of Vlieland. The Royal Netherlands Air Force and NATO partners regularly train here. The area is approximately 17 square kilometers and houses various targets for aircraft: bomb targets, shooting targets and missile targets.

Terminal Maneuvering Areas (TMA)

Traffic control areas around/over one or more military airfields. In a TMA, approaching and departing traffic to and from an airport as well as air traffic crossing the TMA is monitored. The following TMAs are active in the Netherlands:

  • TMA A (including Leeuwarden Air Base, NW Friesland, Wadden Sea and Wadden Islands, North Holland, NW Groningen)
  • TMA B (ZO-Friesland, Noordoostpolder, head of Overijssel, Gelderland)
  • TMA C (East Overijssel. Northern border at Stadskanaal, southern border south of Enschede Airport Twente)
  • TMA D (South Gelderland and North Brabant (East) and North Limburg. Gilze-Rijen Air Base, Volkel Air Base)
  • TMA G1 Above Woensdrecht Air Base, Tholen, South Beveland
  • TMA G2 Boven Airport Central Zeeland, Noord-Beveland, Walcheren, Zeeuws-Vlaanderen
TMA North NL TMA Mid NL TMA South NL

Transponder (Squawk) codes

A transponder code consists of four digits and is broadcast by an aircraft to help air traffic controllers separate traffic. A transponder code is generally referred to as a squawk code and is assigned by air traffic controllers to specifically identify an aircraft. This code makes it easy to spot this aircraft on the radar. The “squawk codes” contain four digits. There are also codes that are not unique to each aircraft but have their own meaning and are used to send information about the aircraft to air traffic control, such as when the aircraft is in an emergency (7700) or when there is a communication problem (7600).

Squawk 1313-1314 – Quick Response Alert
Squawk 1501-1507 – CRC (blue air)
Squawk 2420-2427 – CRC (Red Air)

Squawk 4301-4347 – De Kooy Airport
Squawk 4330-4337 – Woensdrecht Air Base
Squawk 4340-4357 – Gilze-Rijen Air Base

Squawk 5101 – VFR Mil-air en route
Squawk 5104 – VFR Mil-air Cornfield
Squawk 5110 – VFR Mil-air Low Flight Path
Squawk 5111-5112 – Unmanned aerial vehicle
Squawk 5177 – Coast Guard

Squawk 5401-5457 – Volkel . Air Base
Squawk 5401-5467 – Leeuwarden Air Base
Squawk 5460-5477 – Eindhoven Airport
Squawk 5470-5477 – Airport Eelde
Squawk 7056 – Open Skies Flight
Squawk 7050-7057 – Special Tasks

Squawk 7500 – Unlawful interference
Squawk 7600 – Communication Error
Squawk 7700 – Emergency

Squawk 6421 – Lifeliner-1
Squawk 6422 – Lifeliner-2
Squawk 6423 – Lifeliner-3
Squawk 6424 – Lifeliner-4

(The above information is partially taken from Wikipedia and Defense.nl)

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