With the introduction of the F-16 in the Royal Netherlands Air Force, it became necessary to have a unit where F-16 pilots could be trained. The unit had already existed in the sixties and seventies to train F-104G pilots. The unit was based at Leeuwarden AB since the first F-16s would be delivered to that airbase.
The first course was already organized in November of 1979, only months after delivery of the first airframes. The fleet consisted of 3 F-16B's and 4 F-16A's at the time. The unit trained a maximum of 36 pilots per year. The syllabus lasted for 5 months with the first 4 weeks instructing ground school. The flying itself was divided into two phases. In the transition phase, the undergraduate was instructed to fly the F-16 with a total of 10 missions flown. In the conversion phase the pilot was given an insight in combat flying with 15 air defense missions and 10 air-to-ground missions flown.
In 1984 it was decided by the general staff that the F-16 training task was to be integrated into an operational squadron. Therefore the unit never got official recognition although an official disbandment ceremony was held on March 6th, 1986. The training task was executed by 323 sqn for years to come until it was transferred to 306 sqn at Volkel AB in 2001.
RNlAF F-16B block 1 #J-262
is wearing the logo of the TCA. This logo was never officially recognized by the Dutch military authority, but was nevertheless used on a number of aircraft who formed the initial Dutch training squadron. [Photo by Mike Kopack]