Netherlands fighter jets depart for ISIS battle

Dutch Air Force F-16 in the Middle East
A Dutch F-16 on the ground in the Middle East. September 2015.. (photo: Sgt1 Eva Klijn / Defensie)

Six Dutch F-16 fighter jets, supported by a team of 150 people, were deployed this week to the Middle East as part of the international fight against terrorist organization ISIS. The jets departed from the Volkel Air Base on Wednesday morning, and will be stationed at an air base in Jordan.

Between October 2014 and June 2016, the fighter jets were slated to fly 600 hours per month, but their service in missions above Syria was limited due to the lack of advanced communications equipment on the aircraft. Two MPs said they were shocked to discover the aircraft were barely in use when they visited the Defense team stationed in Jordan in 2016.

Since then, the Dutch aircraft were fitted with new gear to resolve the problem.

The Dutch personnel will take over for Belgium, which relieved the Netherlands after its F-16 deployment in 2016. News of the new Dutch mission was first reported last August. The Netherlands has participated in the fight against ISIS since 2014

Netherlands fighter pilots are not expected to have as many missions as the last deployment, wrote newswire ANP. This is due to joint forces containing ISIS to a reduced territory in Iraq and Syria.

Two of the six jets are assigned as reserve units.