323rd squadron (RNlAF)

"Diana" 

323 sqn "Diana" (RNLAF)
Status:
Converted
Version: F-16A/B block 20 MLU
Role:Multirole, Training
Tailband: N/A
Motto: Impetu Feroci (Attacking fearless)
Badge: A golden archer with a red coat is displayed on a black background.
Converted to F-35A on October 31st, 2014.

Sideways profile for 323 sqn in 2008.

F-16 History

323 squadron was the second, after the 322nd, to become operational within the RNlAF. This squadron also became operational in the FBA first, to add the CWI task on a later date. The FBA was lost after the TCA unit was integrated into the squadron.

With the disbandment of the TCA (Transitie en Conversie Afdeling) in 1986, the unit was integrated in the 323rd squadron from then onwards. This task was performed until the Dutch government decided to send a number of F-16s to the US to train the Dutch F-16 pilots. This happened in late 1989, early 1990. With the training task abandoned, the FBA task was taken up again.

The squadron was the first to enlist a female F-16 pilot. This was the first Dutch female F-16 pilot to become operation (Manja Blok). This happened in May of 1990.


RNlAF F-16A block 10 #J-250 of 323 sqn returning from an ACM training mission. The aircraft is currently used as an instructional airframe. [Photo by Mike Kopack]

A major shift in the organization of the squadron took place in 1992. The name of the squadron was officially changed from '323 squadron' to '323 TACTESS'. This stands for 'Tactisch Training, Evaluatie en Standaardisatie Squadron', Tactical Training, Evaluation and Standardization Squadron. Next to its operational FBA and CWI tasks, the squadron was tasked with advanced combat training of all Dutch pilots. Therefore it organizes a number of high profile dissimilar air combat training sorties. The squadron therefore holds the majority of instructor pilots within the RNlAF and also the most skillful and experienced viper drivers within the force. It currently continues to perform this training task today.

According to the current planning the unit is to stand down in November of 2014 and to be resurrected at Edwards AFB as the Dutch F-35 OT&E unit. Whether the squadron's F-16s will be dispatched over the remaining three squadrons or another one will be resurrected as a stop-gap untill the F-16 is phased out will be dediced later.


RNlAF F-16AM #J-057 from 323 sqn is buzzing through the Afghan sky over Kabul IAP in January of 2006. [Photo by Joost de Raaf]

Aircraft Markings History

1981 - 1992

The markings consisted of the squadron's logo in the middle of the tail and a tailband in blue and white.

1992 - 2014

The scheme was toned-down in an overall gray finishing. The tailband could be absent from time to time.


Unit History

  • 1948: Activation of the squadron in Twenthe (as no. 1 sqn)
  • 1948: 'Meteor' F. Mk. 4
  • 1949: 'Meteor' F. Mk. 4 (Leeuwarden, redesignated 323 sqn)
  • 1950: 'Meteor' F. Mk. 4 (Twenthe)
  • 1952: 'Meteor' F. Mk. 4 (Leeuwarden)
  • 1954: 'Meteor' F. Mk. 8
  • 1957: 'Hunter' Mk. 4
  • 1964: F-104G 'Starfighter'
  • 1981: F-16A 'Fighting Falcon'
  • 1999: F-16AM 'Fighting Falcon'
  • 2014: Converted

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 (January 1st, 2003 to June 30th, 2003)
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.
'Air Policing Baltic States'
Siauliai AB, Lithuania (March 30th, 2005 to June 29th, 2005)
This operation started when Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia joined NATO. These countries don't have fighters themselves and rely upon NATO for there air coverage. In a three-month rotation, Belgian, Danish, Norwegian and Dutch F-16s will patrol the skies over the Baltic States.
'ISAF - Air Task Force'
Kabul AB, Afghanistan (October 1st, 2005 to December 31st, 2005)
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 parliamentary elections held in the autumn of 2005.
'ISAF - Air Task Force'
Kandahar AB, Afghanistan (January 1st, 2007 to March 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, 2008 to August 31st, 2008)
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 (September 1st, 2009 to December 31st, 2009)
This marked the 12th 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 (January 1st, 2011 to May 20th, 2011)
This marked the 16th rotation into the Dutch Air Task Force supporting NATO troops in Afghanistan. This is a continuation of this mission.
'Odyssey Dawn/Unified Protector'
Decimomannu AB, Italy (March 23rd, 2011 to October 31st, 2011)
During the squadrons' rotation into Afghanistan, things started to unfold in the Meditteranean. While the squadron returned from Afghanistan they were also rotated into Italy for support of this NATO-led mission.
'ISAF - Air Task Force'
Mazar-e Sharif AB, Afghanistan (May 15th, 2012 to September 24th, 2012)
This mission was part of ATF-20, a continuation of the NATO-led Afghanistan detachment of the RNlAF.
'ISAF - Air Task Force'
Mazar-e Sharif AB, Afghanistan (September 17th, 2013 to January 14th, 2014)
This mission was part of ATF-24, a continuation of the NATO-led Afghanistan detachment of the RNlAF.

F-16 Airframe Inventory

Photos

Errors and Omissions



Note: Errors and omissions in the above text can be added here. Please note: your comments will be displayed immediately on this page.

If you wish to send a private comment to the webmasters, please use the Contact Us link.