March 24, 2011 (by Lieven Dewitte) - The Dutch government deployed six F-16s, a KDC-10 tanker and a navy minesweeper to help enforce the arms embargo against Libya.
RNlAF F-16AM #J-877 from 322 sqn flies away from a KC-10A Extender from the USAF's 908th EARS after refuelling on December 7th, 2009 over Afghanistan. [USAF photo by SSgt. Michael B. Keller]
The Dutch F-16s left from Leeuwarden AFB
today and landed at Decimomanu in Sardinia at around 18.00h.
Four of the F-16s will be combat-ready and the other two will be deployed as spares.
The mission will encompass 200 Dutch servicemen and women. The F-16's will be from Leeuwarden AB in the north of the Netherlands
They will only fly sorties to enforce the weapons embargo. The F-16s will fly surveillance sorties and monitor the air traffic towards Libya. The Dutch government has made it clear that the fighters will not be flying combat sorties to attack ground targets or targets at sea nor will they be enforcing the no-fly zone above Libya.
This can change if the NATO
decides to endorse this. The mission is set for three months but can be prolonged if deemed appropriate.
The F-16s and the minesweeper are being deployed for three months. The refueling plane, which will assist the F-16s, is only available until 4 April.
The six Dutch jets are: