311th squadron (RNlAF)

"Eagle" 

311 sqn "Eagle" (RNlAF)
Status:
Disbanded
Version: F-16A/B block 20 MLU
Role:Multirole, Reconnaissance
Tailband: N/A
Motto: Ut Aquila Praedans (Like an eagle who is on the hunt)
Badge: A landing eagle in black with white tail and head on a blue background.
Disbanded on May 9th, 2011.

Sideways profile for 311 sqn in 2007.

F-16 History

Operations on the Fighting Falcon started in April of 1982. The unit was assigned to the strike and FBA roles at the beginning, also implementing the Clear-Weather-Intercepting task from the late eighties. The full swing role was only introduced from 1993 onwards.

The unit was the first within the Royal Netherlands Air Force to implement laser-guided weapons. Although the Dutch didn't have the possession over laser designating pods, they where able to implement this feature with the help of the RAF. The RAF provided Buccaneer aircraft from 237 sqn to perform the laser designation for the Dutch F-16s.

The unit was also the first to be send to Villafranca AB in Italy to join the Allied coalition in the Deny Flight operation.


RNlAF F-16AM #J-632 from 311 sqn is seen coming into land during Airpower 05 at Zeltweg AB on June 23rd, 2005. [Photo by Ray Binder]

With the introduction of the MLU F-16 in 2000 all F-16s are capable of carrying a recce pod. Since 306 sqn received the training duties within the Royal Netherlands Air Force in the pre-MLU era, it had to disperse its recce role to other units receiving the recce capable MLU F-16s. The majority of material was shifted to 311 sqn in 2001. Although all NATO reaction forces assigned units have to fly reconnaissance missions, the mainstay of material and personnel of the recce unit is hosted by 311 sqn. Other units can 'rent' the logistics from 311 sqn when the need arises.

Over the past years, the unit has been actively involved in operations over Afghanistan to protect the Dutch and coalition forces enrolled in the ISAF operations.

Due to further reductions in the Dutch F-16 fleet (going from 87 to 68) the Dutch government decided to axe one more squadron. An obvious choice was one of the Volkel based units since this airbase still had 3 squadrons at its disposal in compairison with the 2 Leeuwarden based squadrons. Finally it was decided that 311 squadron was the unlucky one with operations ending on May 9th, 2011 and the squadrons' aircraft being put up for sale.


RNlAF F-16AM #J-641 from 311 sqn has just left the runway at Volkel AB on July 19th, 2006. [Photo by Werner van der Wiel]

Aircraft Markings History

1982 - 1991

The markings consisted of the squadron's logo in the middle of the tail.

1991 - 1995

An alternative scheme was worn for a couple of years. Also a red and white checkered tailband was added to the scheme sometimes being shown in toned-down colors.

1995 - 2011

The squadron returned to its original tail scheme, but with the addition of the tailband. Both the logo as the tailband are shown in full colors as in a toned-down version, with combinations of both possible.


Unit History

  • 1951: Activation of the squadron in Volkel
  • 1952: F-84E 'Thunderjet'
  • 1952: F-84G 'Thunderjet'
  • 1955: F-84F 'Thunderstreak'
  • 1965: F-104G 'Starfighter'
  • 1982: F-16A 'Fighting Falcon'
  • 2000: F-16AM 'Fighting Falcon'
  • 2011: Disbanded

Deployments

'Deny Flight'
Villafranca AB, Italy (April 12th, 1993 to December 20th, 1995)
From the start of the Royal Netherlands Air Force F-16 operations in former Yugoslavia till December of 1995 it was part of 'Deny Flight'. This was an operation in support of the UN-led UNPROFOR troops stationed in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
'Decisive Endeavour'
Villafranca AB, Italy (December 21st, 1995 to December 21st, 1996)
The switch from the UNPROFOR mission to the IFOR mission also resulted in a name change of the air operations over Yugoslavia. As from December of 1995 it was called Decisive Endeavour.
'Deliberate Guard'
Villafranca AB, Italy (December 22nd, 1996 to June 20th, 1998)
When the UN forces in Bosnia-Herzegovina changed their mandate resulting in a name change from IFOR to SFOR, also the air operations were given another name. Ultimately, 'Deliberate Guard' formed the air asset for the SFOR troops.
'Determined Falcon'
Villafranca AB, Italy (June 15th, 1998 to June 16th, 1998)
Operation 'Determined Falcon' was a one-day operation to show force over Kosovo and Albania. NATO fighters patrolled this airspace coming only within 10nm of Serbian territory. This operation was meant as a warning to Serbian politicians to stop the bloodshed in this Yugoslavian province.
'Deliberate Forge'
Amendola AB, Italy (June 21st, 1998 to July of 2001)
Operation 'Deliberate Forge' was the successor of operation 'Deliberate Guard'. When the SFOR troops were reorganized into a smaller force, the covering air campaign also received a new name. This operation continued until the end of Royal Netherlands Air Force operations in Yugoslavia, which ended in the summer of 2001.
'Allied Force'
Amendola AB, Italy (March 23rd, 1999 to June 10th, 1999)
Operation 'Allied Force' was the codename for the almost three month long air strikes against Serbia. The Royal Netherlands Air Force has flown a majority of attack missions of all Western European countries in this operation.
'Enduring Freedom'
Manas AB, Kyrgyzstan (October 1st, 2002 to December 31st, 2002)
Operation 'Enduring Freedom' was initiated after the 9/11 attacks on the US. In Afghanistan this operation is aimed at fighting the remains of the Taliban which are still present in-country.
'ISAF - Air Task Force'
Manas AB, Kyrgyzstan (September 14th, 2004 to November 7th, 2004)
The ISAF force is a NATO led operation to bring stability in Afghanistan and support of the local authorities. Also to protect ISAF ground forces during the presidential elections held in the autumn of 2004.
'ISAF - Air Task Force'
Kabul AB, Afghanistan (January 1st, 2006 to March 31st, 2006)
The ISAF force is a NATO led operation to bring stability in Afghanistan and support of the local authorities. This is a continuation of this mission.
'ISAF - Air Task Force'
Kandahar AB, Afghanistan (October 1st, 2007 to December 31st, 2007)
The ISAF force is a NATO led operation to bring stability in Afghanistan and support of the local authorities. This is a continuation of this mission.
'ISAF - Air Task Force'
Kandahar AB, Afghanistan (May 1st, 2009 to August 31st, 2009)
This marked the 11th rotation into the Dutch Air Task Force supporting NATO troops in Afghanistan. This is a continuation of this mission.
'ISAF - Air Task Force'
Kandahar AB, Afghanistan (May 21st, 2011 to September 20th, 2011)
This marked the 17th rotation into the Dutch Air Task Force supporting NATO troops in Afghanistan. This marked the final mission for the squadron as it was disbaned upon returning ot the Netherlands.

F-16 Airframe Inventory

Photos

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