- Air Force
After the collapse of the Berlin Wall, at the end of the 1980s, the threat from Eastern Europe decreased dramatically. Same as with other armed forces, this new situation led to a change of strategy within the Royal Netherlands Air Force. The focus shifted more and more to the provision of support in international conflicts.
Although the Royal Netherlands Air Force had provided support to international operations in conflict areas before, this type of deployment took on a larger scale in the 1990s.
Since 1991, the Royal Netherlands Air Force has provided active contributions to various crisis response operations. These operations were largely conducted in multinational coalitions, with the armed forces from other nations, under the auspices of either NATO or the United Nations.
Besides contributing to securing peace and security, the RNLAF also regularly carries out humanitarian missions. This could involve providing immediate assistance to people in distress because of natural disasters or armed conflict. With such emergency relief missions, the RNLAF provides an important contribution to maintaining stability in regions across the globe.
A number of the assets of the Air Force are made available for national tasks on a 24/7 basis:
- Search and Rescue helicopters conduct rescue operations at sea and medevac missions to airlift patients from ships at sea or the Wadden Islets to hospitals on the mainland.
- Transport helicopters are made available for fire-fighting or the airlift of people and assets whenever there is a calamity.
- Combat helicopters are made available to support search operations of the Public Prosecution and Ministry of Justice.
- Fighter aircraft are on standby to defend the air space.
- Patrol aircraft are employed for coast guard duties.
- Military air traffic control contributes to a safe, orderly and smooth conduct of air traffic above the Netherlands.