The Dutch contribution to Operation Unified Protector in Libya

On 22 March 2011, the Dutch government decided in favour of contributing to Operation Unified Protector. Its contribution consisted of one minehunter for enforcing the arms embargo, one KDC-10 tanker aircraft and 6 F-16s for enforcing the no-fly zone.

In addition, the Netherlands supplied personnel to the international staffs involved and crew members for the NATO AWACS aircraft that were operating in the area.


On 30 April, NATO requested to have HNLMS Haarlem take part in mine countermeasures operations off the Libyan coast. No mines were detected by the Haarlem and its crew was relieved by the crew of HNLMS Middelburg in mid-June. HNLMS Vlaardingen took over the tasks in September 2010.

F-16’s and KDC-10

The RNLAF F-16 detachment operated from the Italian air base Decimomannu on Sardinia. The KDC-10 operated from Elmas airport. The F-16s arrived on 24 March 2011 and were operational from 2 April. F-16s were not only deployed for the enforcement of the arms embargo and no-fly zone, but also to gather intelligence in Libyan airspace. Eventually, the Dutch F-16s made a total of 639 sorties throughout Operation Unified Protector, clocking up no less than 2,940 flight hours.

Updated: 13 May 2015