Dutch Air Force F-35s Cross the Atlantic and Conduct Tests in the Netherlands


2016-06-02 In this video from the Dutch Ministry of Defence, two Dutch F-35s, which had been operating as part of the test group at Edwards AFB, are seen crossing the Atlantic.

Accompanying them is the Dutch Minister of Defence in her Gulfstream along with two Dutch tankers.

A number of F-16s supported the crossing as well.

The video ends with their arrival in the Netherlands.

Credit: Dutch Ministry of Defence (5/23/16).

The Dutch are the first to fly the F-35 East across the Atlantic.

When the Italians flew the first F-35 West across the Atlantic and landed at Pax River on February 5, 2016, there were considerably less press than greeted the arrival of the Dutch F-35s in the Netherlands.

And the Dutch MoD provided a live feed of the arrival of the aircraft which can be seen below.

To be clear: there were four press present when the F-35 arrived at Pax and greeted the Italian pilot and two of them were from Second Line of Defense.

According to the Dutch Ministry of Defence:

The Royal Netherlands Air Force’s 2 new F-35 fighter jets flew from the United States to the Netherlands for the first time on 23 May 2016. Among other things, the 2 F-35s will be carrying out a number of noise-level test flights above the ‪Leeuwarden and ‪Volkel air bases. The aircraft will stay in the Netherlands for approximately 3 weeks.

Air Force Open Days

The Royal Netherlands Air Force Open Days coincide with the 3-week visit of the F-35s. The aircraft will be on show to the public during this event, which takes place at ‪Leeuwarden Air Base on 10 and 11 June. This makes the Royal Netherlands Air Force the first in Europe to display the aircraft.

Experiencing noise in your own surroundings

Residents living in the surrounding area of the ‪Leeuwarden and ‪Volkel air bases wish to compare the noise level of the F-35 with that of the F-16 currently in use. During the noise-level test flights, both aircraft will fly the arrival and departure flight-paths in quick succession.

F-35s along with Minister's Gulfstream arrive at Leeuwarden. CreditL Stephan de Bruijn
F-35s along with Minister’s Gulfstream arrive at Leeuwarden. CreditL Stephan de Bruijn

This will allow local residents to familiarise themselves with the aircraft and experience the noise the jet produces in their own living environment. In order to support the noise-level discussion, the National Aerospace Laboratory (NLR) has set up five noise assessment points around each air base. These will measure peak values at places such as residential centres and bicycle paths.


In a press release posted by Lockheed Martin on May 23, 2016:

LEEUWARDEN AIR BASE, The Netherlands — As people across the Netherlands viewed in person and on TV, the nation’s first two F-35As touchdown for the first time at Leeuwarden Air Base May 23 – a date that will live forever in Netherlands military history.

Pilot’s Colonel Bert “Vidal” de Smit and Major Pascal “Smiley” Smaal conducted a fly by for nearly 2,000 base members, dignitaries and media before touching down. Netherlands Minister of Defence Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert was the first person to greet the two crew members. Their arrival was broadcast live to the entire country – see the footage.

Known as AN-1 and AN-2, the jets are spending three weeks in the Netherlands for a variety of purposes. They will conduct both aerial and ground environmental noise tests, perform flights over the North Sea range and then appear and fly at the Netherlands’ Open Days, the largest air show held annually in the Netherlands.

Video Above: Dutch F35 Backtrack & Takeoff F-002 Leeuwarden

And an article on Aviation News European Union noted that the noise level tests have been completed successfully.

The local residents only noted small differences with regard to the sound levels generated by the F-16 and the F-35 on their residential areas.


As David Cenciotti of The Aviationist noted in an article published on May 24, 2016:

On the ground, waiting for the arrival of the two brand new F-35s along (were) nearly 2,000 base members, dignitaries and media….

Noteworthy, the arrival of the first RNlAF F-35s was very well advertised by the Dutch MoD that provided constant updates, details of the crossing and also streamed the event live on Youtube (as opposed to the Italian MoD that almost took the type’s very first and second transatlantic crossings, conducted by F-35s assembled in Italy, confidential….).