February 17, 2006 (by Lieven Dewitte) - Two RNlAF F-16s intercepted a Boeing 737 on Thursday when Air traffic control could not establish radio contact with the aircraft. The SAS Braathens airliner was on its way from Malaga to Oslo.
RNlAF F-16AM #J-360 of 323 sqn is shot in front of a shelter at Leeuwarden AB in May of 2005. [Photo by Cristian Schrik]
Guided by the Air Operations Control Station Nieuw Milligen (AOCS NM), the F-16 were send sent around 18.00h to the airliner to identify it and to get in contact with the crew.
The F-16s broke trough the sound barier at high altitude, close to Drachten, thus caused a sonic boom.
After radio contact was re-established, the F-16s returned to Air Base Leeuwarden.
The Dutch Air Force is on standby for the Quick Reaction Alert (QRA
) 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Whenever there's a report of an unidentified aircraft, the F-16s are airborne within a few minutes.