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Gilze-Rijen Air Base
Vliegbasis Gilze-Rijen
An124lift.jpg
Antonov An-124 being loaded at Gilze-Rijen in 2005
IATA: GLZICAO: EHGR
Summary
Airport type Military
Owner Military of the Netherlands
Operator Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF)
Koninklijke Luchtmacht (KLu)
Location Breda, Noord-Brabant, Netherlands
Built 1910
Elevation AMSL 15 m / 49 ft
Coordinates 51°34′02″N 004°55′54″E / 51.56722°N 4.93167°E / 51.56722; 4.93167
Website www.luchtmacht.nl/gilzerijen/
Runways
Direction Length Surface
m ft
10/28 2,779 9,117 Asphalt
02/20 1,996 6,549 Asphalt
Source: DAFIF[1][2]

Gilze-Rijen Air Base (Dutch: Vliegbasis Gilze-Rijen) (IATA: GLZICAO: EHGR) is a military airbase in the Netherlands located between the cities of Breda and Tilburg, in the Noord-Brabant province. It is mainly, but not exclusively used as a base for attack helicopters. The airfield has two runways, the longest, complete with instrument landing system (ILS) is 2,779 metres (9,117 ft) long by 45 m (148 ft) wide in the 10/28 direction. The shorter runway (without ILS) is 1,996 m (6,549 ft) by 30 m (98 ft) in the 02/20 direction.

Contents

History

Gilze-Rijen Air Base is one of the oldest airfields in the Netherlands, the first aircraft to have landed there being a Blériot in 1910. The first military aircraft activity dates back to 1913, when a Farman aircraft used the field for military exercises which established it as a military airfield.

Republic F-84 Thunderstreak as a gateguard at Gilze-Rijen Air Base

In 1940, the airfield came under heavy attack from the German Luftwaffe, who later took control of the base and expanded it for their own use. While in German hands during the Second World War, the field came under frequent attack from allied forces until the liberation of the south of the Netherlands, after which the British Royal Air Force took control of the airfield.

In 1946, the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) resumed operations from the airfield, using it as a training base for pilots and air traffic controllers. In 1962, training activity was suspended, and Gilze-Rijen was reduced to a reserve base for bomber aircraft. Training activity was resumed in 1967 however. In 1971, the training activity was suspended again when a fighter squadron was moved to the airfield, which also included a significant upgrade of airport facilities. Initially the Northrop F-5, and later its replacement, the Fokker F-16 Fighting Falcon, were operated from the base up until 1995. It has 30 Hardened Aircraft Shelters (HAS).

In 1995, as a part of a large scale reorganistaion within the Royal Netherlands Air Force, the fighter aircraft were moved from Gilze-Rijen, and instead the base became the home of Aérospatiale Alouette III helicopters. In 1998, AH-64 Apache attack helicopters followed, while the Alouette III helicopters were slowly being phased out, with only a few currently remaining for VIP transport.

In 2009, helicopter operations from Soesterberg Air Base are expected to be moved to Gilze-Rijen Air Base, which will result in CH-47 Chinook and AS 532 Cougar helicopters being based at the airfield, making Gilze-Rijen the main operating base for military helicopters in the Netherlands.

Stichting Koninklijke Luchtmacht Historische Vlucht

The Stichting Koninklijke Luchtmacht Historische Vlucht (Royal Air Force Historic Flight Foundation) is also located at Gilze-Rijen air base, owning and operating a collection of mainly historic military aircraft. The currect fleet consists of the following aircraft:

See also

References

  1. ^ Airport information for EHGR at World Aero Data. Data current as of October 2006.. Source: DAFIF.
  2. ^ Airport information for GLZ at Great Circle Mapper. Source: DAFIF (effective Oct. 2006).

External links

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