Gilze-Rijen Air Base

Gilze-Rijen Air Base
Flag of the Royal Netherlands Air Force.svg
Vliegbasis Gilze-Rijen
Gilze en Rijen, North Brabant in Netherlands
Eurocopter AS-532U2 Cougar Mk2, Netherlands - Air Force AN0869250.jpg
An AS532U2 Cougar Mk2 and AH-64D Apache of the Royal Netherlands Air Force at Gilze-Rijen Air Base
Gilze-Rijen is located in Netherlands
Gilze-Rijen
Gilze-Rijen
Location in the Netherlands
Coordinates51°34′02″N 004°55′54″E / 51.56722°N 4.93167°E / 51.56722; 4.93167Coordinates: 51°34′02″N 004°55′54″E / 51.56722°N 4.93167°E / 51.56722; 4.93167
TypeMilitary airfield
Site information
OwnerMinistry of Defence
OperatorRoyal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF)
ConditionOperational
WebsiteOfficial website (Dutch)
Site history
Built1910 (1910)
In use1910 – present
Airfield information
IdentifiersIATA: GLZ, ICAO: EHGR, WMO: 063500
Elevation14.9 metres (49 ft) AMSL
Runways
Direction Length and surface
10/28 2,767.5 metres (9,080 ft) Asphalt
02/20 1,995.8 metres (6,548 ft) Asphalt
Source: Military Aeronautical Information Publication Netherlands[1]

Gilze-Rijen Air Base (Dutch: Vliegbasis Gilze-Rijen, IATA: GLZ, ICAO: EHGR) is a military airbase in the south of Netherlands. It is located between the cities of Breda and Tilburg, which are both in North Brabant. The airport is mainly, but not exclusively used as a base for Royal Netherlands Air Force helicopters. The airfield has two runways, the longest one is complete with an instrument landing system (ILS) and is 2,779 metres (9,117 ft) long by 45 m (148 ft) wide in the 10/28 direction. The shorter runway (without ILS) is 1,996 m (6,549 ft) by 30 m (98 ft) in the 02/20 direction.

History

Gilze-Rijen Air Base is the oldest airfield in the Netherlands, the first aircraft to have landed there being a Blériot in 1910. The first military aircraft activity dates back to 1913, when a Farman aircraft used the field for military exercises which established it as a military airfield.

Republic F-84F Thunderstreak as a gateguard at Gilze-Rijen Air Base

In 1940, the airfield came under heavy attack from the German Luftwaffe, who later took control of the base and expanded it for their own use. While in German hands during the Second World War, the field came under frequent attack from allied forces until the liberation of the south of the Netherlands, after which the Royal Air Force took control of the airfield.

In 1946, the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) resumed operations from the airfield, using it as a training base for pilots and air traffic controllers. In 1962, training activity was suspended, and Gilze-Rijen was reduced to a reserve base for bomber aircraft. Training activity was resumed in 1967, mainly using Fokker S-11s and Piper Cubs. For paratrooper training and group droppings the Fokker F27 Friendship was in use. In 1971, the training activity was suspended again when a fighter squadron was moved to the airfield, which also included a significant upgrade of airport facilities. Initially the Northrop NF-5A/B, and later its replacement, the General Dynamics F-16A/B Fighting Falcon, were operated from the base up until 1995. It has 30 Hardened Aircraft Shelters (HAS).

In 1995, as a part of a large scale reorganisation within the Royal Netherlands Air Force, the fighter aircraft were moved from Gilze-Rijen, and instead the base became the home of Bölkow Bo-105 helicopters. In 1998, AH-64 Apache attack helicopters followed, while the Bo-105 helicopters were slowly being phased out.

In 2009, helicopter operations from Soesterberg Air Base were moved to Gilze-Rijen Air Base, which resulted in CH-47 Chinook and AS 532U2 Cougar Mk 2 helicopters being based at the airfield as well as the Alouette III for VIP transport, making Gilze-Rijen the main operating base for military helicopters in the Netherlands.

Stichting Koninklijke Luchtmacht Historische Vlucht

The Stichting Koninklijke Luchtmacht Historische Vlucht (Royal Air Force Historic Flight Foundation) is also located at Gilze-Rijen air base, owning and operating a collection of mainly historic military aircraft. The current fleet consists of the following aircraft:

Based units

Units based at Gilze-Rijen Air Base.[2]

Royal Netherlands Air Force

Defence Helicopter Command

  • No. 298 Squadron – CH-47D/F Chinook
  • No. 299 Squadron – Helicopter training and standards
  • No. 300 Squadron – AS532U2 Cougar Mk 2
  • No. 301 Squadron – AH-64D Apache
  • No. 930 Squadron – Maintenance and Logistics
  • No. 931 Squadron – Base operations and Force Protection

Centre for Man in Aviation

  • SERE School - Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape training facility
  • OGZ - Operational Healthcare

See also

References

  1. ^ Defensie, Ministerie van (2018-01-15). "MilAIP: information for the aviation sector - Defensie.nl". english.defensie.nl. Retrieved 2020-12-07.
  2. ^ Defensie, Ministerie van (2018-02-09). "Vliegbasis Gilze-Rijen - Koninklijke Luchtmacht - Defensie.nl". www.defensie.nl (in Dutch). Retrieved 2020-12-07.

External links

  • (in Dutch) Luchtmacht.nl - Vliegbasis Gilze-Rijen, official website
  • Royal Netherlands Air Force Historical Flight Foundation
  • Airliners.net - Photos taken at Gilze-Rijen Air Base
  • Current weather for EHGR at NOAA/NWS
  • Accident history for GLZ at Aviation Safety Network
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