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Netherlands ends F-16 Middle East deployment

08 January 2019
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The Netherlands ended its F-16 deployment to the Middle East at the end of 2018. Source: Dutch MoD

The Netherlands ended its F-16 mission in the Middle East at the end of 2018, the Dutch Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on 31 December.

The MoD reported the return of Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) F-16s deployed to Iraq on 2 January, followed by most of the 150-strong Dutch detachment.

The four F-16s, plus two reserve aircraft, had been operating from Al-Azraq in Jordan since January 2018, together with other coalition members supporting troops on the ground. They conducted more than 3,000 missions using their weapons about 2,100 times to attack targets such as vehicles, logistic nodes, and weapon positions of the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and eastern Syria, according to the MoD.

The ministry said the Netherlands can no longer participate in the anti-Islamic State coalition from Jordan so that it can make aircraft available for various rapid reaction forces and NATO, and to prepare for conversion to the F-35.

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