NL 313sq F 35A credit xx 640KLu F-35A shows its claws

On 13 September 2023, 313 Squadron of the Koninklijke Luchtmacht (KLu, Royal Netherlands Air Force) unveiled the special tiger markings on one of their F-35A Lightning IIs. This is because the squadron exists 70 years this year.

The unit was officially founded in December 1953 at Volkel air base. However, already in August 1952 the first Lockheed T-33s flew with the Volkel base flight and two months later this unit separated under the semi-official title JVS II (fighter flying school) and started the advanced training of fighter-bomber pilots returning from courses in Canada and the US. On 1 December 1953, JVS II became 313 squadron and added the F-84G Thunderjet to its inventory of forty T-33As.

In 1958 the squadron moved to Woensdrecht air base to form the JVO (Jachtvlieger Opleiding, Fighter Pilot Training) together with the other fighter-bomber training unit. On 1 January 1959, 313 squadron was disbanded. But not for long as in October 1972 the squadron reformed at Twenthe air base, again as an Operational Conversion Unit (OCU), but now on the Northrop NF-5A Freedom Fighter.

In the following years, 313 squadron was the only training unit within the KLu. With the arrival of the F-16A/B Fighting Falcon in 1988, 313 squadron became an offensive and defensive squadron. In October 1990 the unit changed its squadron badge to a Tiger and became a member of NATO's Tiger Association. From 1 April 1994 the unit regained its training role as Tactical Qualification Training (TQT). At the end of 2002, the squadron regained its operational NATO standard.

In 2003 it was decided that Twenthe air base would be closed and in early 2005 it was announced that 313 squadron would be transferred to Volkel air base where they arrived in December of that year. At the end of 2020, the unit's F-16s, including pilots and ground crew, were transferred to 312 squadron and the unit began preparations for the arrival of the F-35A Lightning II. The first F-35A arrived at Volkel on 30 June 2022.

Credit photo: jc96photography & 5thgenmedia via Royal Netherlands Air Force Association (@ OnzeLuchtmacht_)

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