The Dutch contribution to Operation Allied Force

On 23 March 1999, the Dutch government agreed to the participation of 16 Dutch F-16s, 3 P-3C Orions, 2 frigates and 1 submarine in Operation Allied Force.

The Dutch P-3C Orion which had patrolled over Kosovo since 13 February 1999 as part of the NATO verification mission was deployed, along with 2 aircraft flown in from the Netherlands, from 24 March for patrols over the Adriatic, in support of the international maritime blockade of Yugoslav ports.

F-16 detachment

The F-16 detachment in Amendola, which took part from there in Operation Deliberate Forge over Bosnia, was reinforced with 8 F-16s prior to Operation Allied Force. This took the number of aircraft to 16 (10 of which were modernised MLU – mid-life update – versions). On paper, the air operations over Bosnia and Kosovo were strictly segregated, but in practice aircraft and pilots from Operation Deliberate Forge were deployed over both areas.


During the first few days of Allied Force, the Dutch F-16s protected NATO's bombing formations. They then carried out their own strikes on ground targets in Yugoslavia from 29 March. At the end of April, the F-16s were fitted with the AN/AAQ-14 targeting pod, which enabled Dutch pilots to guide the laser-guided AGM-65G Maverick missile to its target. The detachment was reinforced on 22 April with another 4 modernised F-16s.

Photos and patrol flights

3 F-16s were replaced a week later by 3 RF-16 photographic reconnaissance aircraft, which were able to obtain better images of the bombed areas using the modern MARS camera pod. The Dutch pilots flew their last bombing flight on 10 June, after which they switched to patrol flights. 12 F-16s returned to the Netherlands on 25 June. The 8 remaining aircraft have been used since then in Operation Deliberate Forge over Bosnia and in Operation Joint Guardian over Kosovo.