Fighter jets scream across Dutch skies in surprise training mission
The Dutch Air Force continues to train, despite restrictions in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus, the military branch said on Twitter, after fighter jets were spotted racing through the skies over multiple regions of the Netherlands on Monday. The unannounced training caused some panic and consternation on social media.
It involved two F-16 aircraft which took off from Volkel Air Force Base in Noord-Brabant, were flown over the North Sea for an exercise, and returned to Volkel, an Air Force press officer told NL Times. It was not intended to frighten anyone, the military branch also stated in a message online. "Our deployability must be guaranteed as much as possible. That's why we still train. Although in an adapted form and taking into account the guidelines of [public health agency] RIVM. We are still [flying] all over the Netherlands," the Air Force said.
"If there really was something going on, it would be communicated."
Onze inzetbaarheid moet zoveel mogelijk gegarandeerd blijven. Daarom trainen we nog steeds. Weliswaar in aangepaste vorm en rekening houdend met de richtlijnen van het RIVM. Dit doen we nog steeds boven heel Nederland. 24/7 inzetbaarheid 💪 pic.twitter.com/yeZIltGou8— Koninklijke Luchtmacht (@Kon_Luchtmacht) March 30, 2020
The Air Force said they run drills over the entire country, and that the emptier airspace around Schiphol provides other possibilities. Military planes were spotted flying over Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Naarden, Haarlem, and along the coast early on Monday afternoon.
The training missions are likely to continue over different municipalities for the time being. The fighter jets will be more noticeable as long as there are fewer passenger jets over the Netherlands during the ongoing health crisis connected to coronavirus, the Air Force press officer said.
"We obviously did not want to scare anyone. But our deployability must remain guaranteed," the military branch added online.
Volgens mij heb ik jullie net boven Alblasserdam gespot! Ik was vrij laat met de foto en moest met telefoon, maar het waren er 2. pic.twitter.com/zkJ4tUjboD— Peter Stam (@peterstam) March 30, 2020