Dutch Air Force to Patrol on Belgian Air Space

Dutch Air Force to Patrol on Belgian Air Space
Dutch Air Force to Patrol on Belgian Air Space

Royal Netherlands Air Force takes over on Belgium’s Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) duties after F-16 grounding. The Dutch force will temporarily perform QRA air-policing to cover up Royal Belgian Air Force following the grounding of that country’s F-16 fighter fleet.


The two countries generally share QRA responsibility in each other’s airspace, as well as over Luxembourg. The Netherlands and Luxembourg (BENELUX) will be covered by F-16s operated by the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) from Volkel Air Base. Since 2017, the two nations have shared QRA duties, protecting the BENELUX airspace on a rotational basis. This is usually covered by two armed aircraft on standby to respond to airspace violations within their area of responsibility (AoR) on a 24/7 basis.

The multi-role fighter will be replaced in Belgian service by a 34 F-35A Lightning II fifth-generation multi-role stealth fighters, with deliveries due to begin in 2023. However, the initial examples will not arrive in Belgium that year. They will be operated from Luke Air Force Base (AFB) in Arizona for air/ground crew training purposes.

Belgian F-16s experienced a serious engine problem and all aircraft grounded. Dutch F-16s have not experienced the same engine problem.