Eskadrille 726 (RDAF)

"Phantom" 

Esk 726 "Phantom" (RDAF)
Status:
Disbanded
Version: F-16A/B block 20 MLU
Role:Multirole, Reconnaissance
Tailband: N/A
Motto: In Corpore (Upon fleshly)
Badge: A white phantom on a red shield.
Disbanded on December 31st, 2005.

Sideways profile for Esk 726 in 2005 with the farewell marking on the tail.

F-16 History

Esk 726 was the last within the Danish air force to convert to the F-16. They had to wait until the aircraft of the follow-on order came off the Fokker production line starting from 1986. This meant that its predecessor, the F-104G/CF-104D Starfighter, remained in RDAF service for over 23 years.

Originated as the second Danish attack unit on the F-16, the mission of the squadron changed in the course of 1993. In that year the final Danish RF-35XD ‘Drakens’ were fazed out with Esk 729 based at Karup AB. The Danish military staff didn’t want to loose their dedicated reconnaissance platform and therefore decided that Esk 726 would be enrolled in a reconnaissance task.


RDAF F-16A block 15 #E-007 from Esk 726 is passing the lens at Leeuwarden AB on August 30th, 1995. [Airliners.net photo by Joop de Groot]

At first the ‘Red Baron’ recce pod was used. This pod was designed by the Per Udsen company (now Terma) and it used the older Vinten cameras from the RF-35XD aircraft. In later years an infrared line scanner and a passive sensor system was installed to enhance the pods operations. However, even with these upgrades the pod was still only used as a low-level daytime reconnaissance asset. During the late nineties this pod was replaced by the more capable Modular Reconnaissance Pod (MRP), which is also produced by Terma. This change was combined with the introduction of the MLU version of the F-16, of which Esk 726 was the first to receive in 1999.

During a plan to reduce the number of F-16 squadrons by one, the sister squadron Esk 723 was disbanded in 2001 leaving Esk 726 as the only flying unit at Aalborg AB. In a second reorganisation plan, the Danish government decided that Esk 726 should be disbanded and Aalborg AB closed for F-16 operations. The disbandment happened at the end of 2005, which means the RDAF only has one operational F-16 airbase left, being Skrydstrup AB.


RDAF F-16AM #E-008 from Esk 726 is photographed in the static display at RIAT on July 16th, 2005 with a new Danish made recon pod. [Photo by Asif Shamim]

Aircraft Markings History

1986 - 2005

The Danish squadrons have never worn specific unit markings, except for temporary occasions. The tail markings consist of only a Danish flag in the middle. Unit markings are much more commonly found on the engine air intake.


Unit History

  • 1952: Activation of the squadron in Karup
  • 1952: F-84G 'Thunderjet'
  • 1958: F-86D 'Sabre' (Aalborg)
  • 1964: F-104G 'Starfighter'
  • 1971: CF-104D 'Starfighter' (additional)
  • 1986: F-16A 'Fighting Falcon'
  • 1999: F-16AM 'Fighting Falcon'
  • 2005: Disbanded

Deployments

'Allied Force'
Grazzanise 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. It was the first time after WWII that Denmark deployed fighters into operation. The aircraft were tasked with CAP mission since they didn’t send their new MLU aircraft.
'Enduring Freedom'
Manas AB, Kyrgyzstan (October 1st, 2002 to September 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 (July 1st, 2004 to October 31st, 2004)
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.

F-16 Airframe Inventory

Photos

Errors and Omissions



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