Esk 723 was the first unit at Aalborg AB to receive the F-16. It also received the last examples of the first batch that Denmark ordered in 1975. The F-16 replaced the F-104G/CF-104D Starfighter with the Aalborg based units and became fully operational in March of 1984. Since the Skrydstrup based units were all converted to the F-16, Esk 723 was tasked with the training of future F-16 pilots. The squadron would retain this training task, besides being an operational squadron, until its disbandment in 2001.
The main task of Esk 723 was an air defense assignment with a secondary daylight attack mission. This made the squadron the first ‘multi-role’ squadron within the EPAF countries combining both an air defense with an attack mission in the ‘pre multi-role’ era.
RDAF F-16A block 5 #E-184
of Esk 723 is parked in the static at the Open House at Kleine Brogel AB in 1991. [Photo by Ed Groenendijk]
With the introduction of the MLU version, the Danish government also decided to reorganize its F-16 assets. Since only a limited number of airframes were to be upgraded, they decided that one of the four F-16 squadrons should be disbanded. Finally, in the year 2000, it was decided that Esk 723 would face the axe. The squadron was disbanded on January 8th, 2001 and thus never received the upgrade MLU version of the F-16. In total Esk 723 flew with the viper for 18 years with a total of 39,113:30 hours. Esk 723 sent its F-16s to its sister squadron Esk 726 and when disbanded, Esk 726 was left as the only flying unit at Aalborg AB. But even Esk 726 closed its doors in December of 2005 bringing a close to all F-16 operation at Aalborg AB.
RDAF F-16BM #ET-613
of Esk 723 taking-off at RIAT 1999 held at RAF Fairford (Gloucestershire, UK) on July 26th, 1999. [Photo by Paul Nann