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Year Review 2023
Latest update: December 2023
Below you will find an overview of photographs made in 2023.
Italian Air Force KC-767A departing Eindhoven.
With colleague MMU A330MRTT's on the ramp on 15.01.23
RNLAF F-16AM, once assigned to, Netherlands Detachment Tucson Arizona, arriving at Charleroi.
The first visit was made to Eindhoven air base on Sunday January 15. A day earlier an Italian Air Force KC-767A MRTT arrived. With the weather conditions out of limits for this photographer (heavy rain) and the forecast for Sunday (sun with clouds) it was an easy choice. The MRTT departed for a flight to the United States (New Mexico). During the first two weeks of the year Eindhoven air base saw a German Air Force C-130J.30 Super Hercules, Royal Air Force Chinooks and the Heavy Airlift Wing C-17A Globemaster visiting.

Charleroi was visited again (see December 2022). Seven Royal Netherlands Air Force F-16's were scheduled to arrive from Lajes, Azores. Two days prior the five fighters which remained in the United States made the Atlantic crossing supported by two USAF KC-135's. Only one flight of four F-16's flew to Belgium, three stayed behind at the Azores.
The first KC-135T to depart Geilenkirchen.  Roughly half an hour later followed by his colleague. 171st ARS, 127th WG, Michigan ANG tail markings.
Left behind.......  The first pair arrives at last chance.  Second duo completing the checklist. 
In February a visit was made to Geilenkirchen Air base. The Michigan Air National Guard, 127th Wing, 171st Air Refueling Squadron was deployed in support of the based NATO E-3A AWACS fleet. The ANG rotates its Air Refueling Wings for a normally two-week rotation. However, occasionally a deployment remains for one or two weeks longer.
On Thursday February 16, two additional tankers arrived. As news outlets reported problems with the KC-135R/T fleet we didn't know what to expect but decided to drive to Geilenkirchen on Friday. Surprisingly the two tankers who arrived the day before departed back home to Selfridge ANGB near Detroit, MI. The two present tankers didn't move. Because of the weather forecast for Germany, Belgium and The Netherlands we decided to drive back home with a stop made at Volkel to capture the departure of the afternoon sortie. As it was completely clouded, we went to the official spotter's place. With no backlight the Vipers could be photographed from a close distance. After four F-16AM assigned to 312 squadron took off it was time to head home.
312 squadron has 24 F-16's assigned which should remain on the inventory in 2023 and then to be withdrawn from use in 2024.
Kuwait C-17A taxing for departure.
UEA Globemaster's during its take off.
An 351st ARS Stratotanker sitting on the ramp.
Belgian Air Component F-16's Finnish Air Force F/A-18's and a visiting Xingu from France
The Prefect fleet is based at RAF Barkston Heath and RAF Cranwell. The later also is home to some Tutors and the Phenom T.1 assigned to 45 squadron.

Indian Mirage 2000 returning.

The Shadows, when not deployed, are based at RAF Waddington. A visiting AW109SP assigned to 32 (The Royal) squadron.
Saudi Air Force Typhoon F.2 returning to RAF Coningsby Four Saudi Typhoons took off for the morning mission. One of the 495 FS Lightnings in final approach.
An UH-60M assigned to A/1-214 GSAB, 12 CAB arriving for a fuel stop. 203 ARS HI ANG completed their annual two-week TDY at Geilenkirchen. F-16's lined-up at Volkel.

With the India and Saudi Air Forces participating in exercise Cobra Warrior 23-2 (CW 23-2) a visit to the United Kingdom was made. The travel to the RAF Waddington area started on Sunday morning. As we drove past Stansted, we decided to check for the United Arab Emirates which should be present for a short stop. When entering the spotter's area along the runway we indeed saw the C-17A as well as one moving which turned out to be Kuwait Air Force. The Emirates Globemaster meant that I have at least one C-17 of each country (operator). All countries except the UAW AF visited The Netherlands. A nice start of the trip. The next stop was made at RAF Mildenhall. After photographing the tankers we drove north to the hotel.

On Monday severe winds were blowing throughout England. Fortunately, RAF Waddington was active except for................ right the Indians. A French Nacy Xingu visited. As all other bases were closed, at least the aircraft were not flying, we decided to start at RAF Waddington again on Tuesday.

The day started with a visit to RAF Barkston Heath and RAF Cranwell and then to RAF Waddington. After all CW 23-1 aircraft recovered we went back to the twin training bases and the headed to RAF Coningsby. After the afternoon mission recovered we decided to come back the next to view the morning sortie. When all Typhoons were back on the ground we went to RAF Lakenheath and RAF Mildenhall. Several Blackhawks and Chinooks passed RAF Mildenhall on their way to the north. We caught two UH-60M's of which one happened to be my last one the battalion. (Note: later in 2023 the battalion changed from the UH-60M to the UH-60V).

April ended with a visit to Geilenkirchen to capture the departure of the Hawaii ANG, 203 ARS, 154 WG, KC-135R's. Because of the weather we went to Volkel before heading home.
One of the NAF322 flight Lightnings returning from Poland. Volkel F-16's turning into taxiway Romeo 6 to depart Eindhoven. The G650ER using Romeo 7 for its departure to Basel.
French Air and Space Force VIP A330-223. And its sister aircraft the A330MRTT.

April started with another visit to Volkel. 322 squadron and its eight F-35's would return from their Air Policing and training mission at Malbork Air Base, Poland. The resident F-16's assigned to 312 squadron went to Eindhoven for their lunch break. As the latest RNLAF acquisition the G650 would be flown to Basel, Switzerland for upgrades Eindhoven was visited to capture the VIP aircraft as well as the fighters departing for their afternoon sortie

Not one but two French Air and Space Force A330's. The first one, a A330-223, in its VIP livery brought French president
Emmanual Marcon to Schiphol for his state visit. Unfortunately, the Airbus didn't wear any (visible) registration. At the end of the month the French came back to Schiphol. This time with one of their A330MRTT's. After a short stop it departed back to its home base from where it also arrived.
Annual missing man formation at former Soesterberg Air Base. And a Cougar in Utrecht supporting the artists flung to liberation festivals. Turkish Air Force F-4E-2020 taxing on the Anatolian Eagle ramp for departure.
The Italian Air Force P.180 Avanti departed first. Shortly followed by its Spanish Air Force Beech C90.  
In the Netherlands May 4 and 5 are remembrance and liberation day. The Royal Netherlands Air Force annually flies its missing man formation over former Soesterberg Air Base on May 4. A day later helicopters assigned to 300 squadron (Cougar) and 860 squadron (NH90-NFH) fly artists to liberation festivals across the country.

322 squadron was assigned the missing man formation but most likely borrowed a Lightning from 313 squadron. F-028 becoming my first F-35A from 313 squadron wearing their tiger batch and the Air Combat Command (ACC) titles. The Cougar at Utrecht arrived around sunset and landed on another location compared to last year. With the challenging light conditions a few shots could be made during start-up and departure back to Gilze-Rijen.

It was then time for Anatolian Eagle. My first visit to the exercise and Turkey. The 'line-up' was already known with aircraft from Azerbaijan, Pakistan, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and of course the Turkish hosts. Saudi Arabia cancelled its participation with their F-15's. Of course, many highlights with the first-time aircraft from the Azerbaijan air force, the F-16E/F block 60's from the UAE and Qatari Typhoons which are still in the process of being built and delivered. It was great to see the Turkish Air Force sent four of its F-4E-2020 Phantoms of which two wore a special color scheme. During the three-day visit three Phantoms flew missions.

At the end of the month Rotterdam - The Hague airport was visited by both the Italian and Spanish Air Forces. The P.180 (Italy) and Beech C90 (Spain) departed shortly after each other.
A F-15C Eagle assigned to the 122nd FS, 159th FW, LA ANG departing Hohn Air Base for the first Air Defender mission.

U.S. Navy Carrier Air Wing eight (CVW-8) assigned to the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) participated with its F/A-18E/F Hornet and EA-8G Growler squadrons.

A-10C Warthogs assigned to 107th FS, 127th WG, MI ANG took up residence at Schleswig-Jagel Air Base. Where Air National Guard colleagues from Colorado (120th FS, 140th WG) and

South Dakota (175th FS, 114th FW) also were deployed with their F-16's.

Wunstorf hosted all ANG C-130H/J squadrons. Pictured here a C-130H assigned to 192nd AS, 152nd AW, Nevada ANG.

And its colleague from the Delaware ANG's 142nd AS, 166th AW also assigned the C-130H Hercules.

Spangdahlem welcomed back the Green Mountain Boys with their F-35A. A year earlier the 134th FS, 158th FW, VT ANG deployed for the first time with the Lightning.
A holding hands approach by two local F-16's from the 480th FS, 52nd FW.

A quick visit to Ramstein to capture an E-8C JSTAR for the last time.

At Norvenich THR 30 maintains a H145M SAR alert which was captured returning from its flight.
A CH-53G (HSG 64) with a Wiesel as underslung loaa taking part in the Tag der Bundeswehr with its German Army. colleagues as well as a French Army (ALAT) Tigre.
A NH90-TTH at a staging field from where the helicopters flew to and/from Buckeburg. 
The New Hamsphire ANG (133rd ARS, 157th ARW) deployed two of its KC-46A Pegasus aircraft to Geilenkirchen and participated in Air Defender. Their special marked one captured on its take off back home. Not on July 1st (Saturday) but on June 30th the annual anniversary of the RNLAF took place at Soesterberg. 

The National Military Museum organized its 'Zomeroffensief' for which an AH-64D assigned to 301 squadron participated in the static display.

An Alouette III (SA.316B) in the color scheme of Royal Netherlands Air Force display team "Grashoppers" on display at the zomeroffensief.    
June saw the long awaited exercise Air Defender 2023 take place. A visit to Germany was made for one week. Hohn and Schleswig-Jagel Air Bases in Northern Germany hosted most of the participating aircraft. Several other German bases also hosted participants while others flew from their home bases.

The Colorado ANG brought their anniversary jet as well as the former Alabama ANG anniversary jet. Wunstrof hosted the Air National Guard C-130 Hercules squadrons. There we decided to visit Spangdahlem for the Vermont F-35's. While waiting for the morning wave to return at Ramstein AB the E-8C JSTAR had left. We opted to go to Ramstein to capture its return as the JSTAR was in the twilight of its career. Later in 2023 the E-8C was retired with all aircraft flown to AMARG. We them returned to Spangdahlem to watch the evening mission return. The next day was spend at Norvenich after we headed for Geilenkirchen. Unfortunately the KC-46's did not fly and seemed not to be active. While heading to Buckeburg for the Tag der Bundeswehr one departed Geilenkirchen. The TdG was spend at an staging field where a CH-53 and NH90s flew to Buckeburg for their demonstrations. At the end of the day all helicopters, including a French Army Tigre, flew in to gather for the mass flyby.
At the end of Air Defender I headed back to Geilenkirchen to capture the departure of the New Hampshire ANG KC-46's including their special painted Pegasus.

On June 30th, the RNLAF celebrated their anniversary (instead of July 1st) and the National Military Museum organized its Zomer offensief (instead of the end of August. An Apache assigned to 301 squadron arrived for static display and after a pass over the former cross runway headed back to Gilze-Rijen.
A German Air Force CH-53GA Ses Stallion on its way to RIAT 2023.  With a RNLAF F-35A from nearby Volkel shooting an approach at Eindhoven  followed by the arrival of the Swedish Air Force Sk.60 (Saab 105) trainers. These were also geaded to RAF Fairford.
Eindhoven served as a staging base for a German Air Force CH-53 helicopter and the Swedish Air Force Sk.60 training aircraft. These were on their way to RIAT 2023. From nearby Volkel one of 313 squadron F-35A's made an approach.
The first AW101 destined for the Polish Navy during a fuel stop at Rotterdam. A F-16C assigned to 3/6 ELT returning from a mission at Poznan-Krzesiny.   The recent delivered FA-50GF about to land for static display at Radom. 
One of the resident PZL130TC-2, part of the team Orlik display. Support on Friday by a Czech Air Force C-295M.   Arriving from Scott AFB, IL (126th ARW) the ANG participated with a KC-135R.
The Croatian Air Force participated with a UH-60M and the OH-58D Kiowa.   A M-28TD banking in the holding area after dropping paratroopers.  Two Su-22M-4 and one Su-22UM-3K taking part in the fly past.
Rotterdam was used as refueling location for the pre-delivery of the Polis Navy AW101. Carrying their British registration two would make their way to Poland. Still registrered with this serial one participated in the Polish Air Force open house at Radom-Sadkow (now known as Warswaw-Radom).

Next stop was Poland for their air show. They day prior to the arrivals a visit was made to the F-16 bases at Poznan-Krzesiny and Łask. The next three days were spend at Radom to catch the arrivals, rehearsals and a quick visit on the Saturday to view the static and visit stands. We then headed back home and after a remain overnight visited Wunstorf to photograph some of the A400M's on the ramp.
Phantom taxing back to its parking spot.
The T-2C Buckeye made some passes before heading back home. A Chinook departing from the static display area.
The Greek Air Force participated for the first time at Falcon Leap and sent a C-130H Hercules.   While their Italian colleagues are annually taking part with one of the C-130J's.   The Romanian Air Force participated with the C-27J Spartan.
Departure of a C-130H assigned to the hosts of RNLAF 336 squadron.   Side by side the Greek and Dutch Hercules.    
A first visit was made to the Athens Flying Week at Tanagra AIr Base, Greece. The organizers offer paid access to the base in the days prior to the air show and during departures on Monday. Except several internal (solo) display teams AFW offers the change to photograph several Greek Air Force aircraft as well as helicopters assigned to their Army and Navy colleagues.

The annual Falcon Leap exercise took place from September 4 - 18 and was closed by the WWII Operation Market Garden commemoration on Saturday September 19. Participants supporting the para drop part of FALE23 came from the German Air Force (A400M), Greek Air Force (C-130H), Italian Air Force (C-130J), Polish Air Force (C-295M), Romanian Air Force (C-27J). Hosts 336 squadron flew with two of their C-130H(.30) Hercules. This year the United States did not take part in the exercise.
After the visit to Eindhoven we relocated to the Ginkelse heide were the second and third waves with the paratroopers could be captured.
PC-7 in its regular paint scheme. and one of the two special tails. NH90-NFH returning from its (test) flight.
The first arrival of Atlantic Resolve rotation 11. A HH-60M assigned to C/2-1 GSAB. An UH-60M assigned to 3/1 ARB taxies towards its parking spot.

Line up and arrival of the first Blackhawks (HH-60M and UH-60M) assigned to 1st CAB.
October saw the start of the 11th Atlantic Resolve rotation. The 1st CAB arrived in the port of Vlissingen and flew to Woensdrecht. On October 18 the first helicopters, all Blackhawks, arrived. At Woensdrecht 131 EMVO squadron is based. The squadron has 13 Pilatus PC-7 trainers assigned. Two of which received a special tail to commemorate the squadrons
35th anniversary (1988 - 2023). Logistics Center Woensdrecht is maintaining several aircraft and helicopter types including the NH90-NFH which most likely performed a test flight.

More information about the U.S. Army (Operation) Atlantic Resolve rotations can be visited here: Atlantic Resolve.
Lithuanian Air Force C-27J assigned to the Transporto Esk. Polish Air Force C-295M assigned to 13 ELTr, 8 BLtr. U.S. Air Force C-12D Huron assigned to an US Embassy flight (Oslo, Norway?).
SP-2H Neptune outside display together with a F-86F Sabre in front of the NMM. Orange Jumper during the night shoot.
Time for the Polar bears. After their TDY at Geilenkirchen both KC-135R's, 168th ARS / 168th ARW departed back home to Eielson AFB, Alaska.  
On November 8 five aircraft arrived at Schiphol A Lithuanian Air Force C-27J Spartan, Polish Air Force and U.S. Air Force C-12D Huron, C-21A and C-37A. The Learjet departed with the other remaining overnight.
The C-12D is one of three Hurons based in Europe (Hungary, Norway and Türkiye) assigned to an embassy flight.

One day later it was time to visit the Nationaal Militair Museum (NMM - National Military Museum) at Soesterberg. The NMM organized a night shoot for F-16BM J-066 more known as Orange Jumper. The Fighting Falcon previously assigned to Kantoor Test Vliegen was withdrawn from service on March 31, 2022. It then made her way to the museum. It was already part of the annual "zomer offensief" which took place in the first weekend of July. Orange Jumper was pulled from the depot again on October 10 and could be photographed between 16.00 - 18.30

The Alaska Air National Guard took up residence at Geilenkirchen for their two-week TDY. On Friday morning both tankers, adorned with a polar bear, left. Fortunately for us during a dry spell as it was raining cats and dogs. We then headed to Eindhoven hoping to catch some helicopters arrival as..........

The 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade returned home through The Netherlands. The plan was that 55 helicopters would use Eindhoven and then fly to the port of Vlissingen. However, also the helicopters operating in Eastern and South Europe were flown to Germany and then onwards to the port. Alike their colleagues of the 1st CAB they also encountered poor weather which resulted in a delay of their flights. We headed back on Monday which turned out to be the only day with sun (morning). As the weather in Germany was not that well only a few helicopters made it to Eindhoven. The next two days more arrived although in not favorable photographic (and flying) conditions. Wednesday 22 October saw a visit made by a French Air Force AS332 Puma and a German Air Force C-130.30. A week later the final helicopters made it to Eindhoven and Vlissingen.
Cougar about to drop off her cargo.
followed by the Chinook with a double load. Second wave with the cougar in front of the Chinook and vehicles first wave.
F-16AM's line-up at the cross-servicing. Heading out for the elephant walk. F-16A instructional airframe
ROKAF B-747-8I turning onto runway 18L gas and go back to Seoul.  
On Wednesday and Thursday December 6-7, a slingery exercise was held. This time with three helicopters, two CH-47F Chinook assigned to 298 squadron and one AS532.U2 Cougar assigned to 300 squadron together with 11 Bevoorradings (Supply) company.

On Friday Volkel Air Base hosted 150 aviation enthusiasts. Spotting Group Volkel organized a spotter's day together with the Royal Netherlands Air Force. Resident 312 squadron held a readiness exercise which saw 16 F-16AM's on the flightline. One of these was already withdrawn from use in 2022. Unfortunately, two could not join their colleagues taxxing to runway 06L for the official elephant walk photograph. The "WFU" F-16 taxied back while the others taxied by runway 06R to runway 24R for take-off. 13 F-16's left the base for their missions. The last time this many RNLAF F-16 could be seen operational.

On Monday 11 December the president of South Korea arrived in The Netherlands for his state visit. The Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) B-747-8I arrived at Schiphol international airport in the dark, just after 17.00. The Jumbojet departed on Thursday 14 December. While most of the photographers were at or near runway 18R - 36L Polderbaan to capture the 747 on the taxi track or in take off its departure runway was changed to 18L - 36R. So, no chance to see it let alone photograph it. I went back to the car and drove to runway 18L to find out the B-747 was holding short for the runway. Within a minute after arrival she took off. "Close-call photography".
First, last and most special photo of 2023
First photo of 2023 Most special photo of 2023 Last photo of 2023
Italian Air Force KC-767A. Greek Air Force T-41D. South Korean Air Force B-747-8I.
The aviation year 2023 started at Eindhoven Air Base on 15 January. An Italian Air Force KC-767A assigned to 8° Gruppo, 14° Stormo arrived. The year was closed on 14 December by the Republic of Korea Air Force B-747-8I. Most special aircraft was the Greek Air Force T-41D Mescalero. During two days at Athens Flying Week, Tanagra Air Base, it made approaches. The type was reported to have been withdrawn from use.

115 different aircraft types from 33 countries were photographed in seven countries. Except The Netherlands visits were made to Belgium, Germany, Greece, Poland, Türkiye and the United Kingdom.