Primary focus: Operator

The Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) (Dutch: Koninklijke Luchtmacht (KLu), "Royal Air Force"), is the military aviation branch of the Netherlands Armed Forces.


The Royal Netherlands Air Force is a modern, high-tech armed forces Service that is active on a global basis. The Air Force lends support in combating international unrest and provides disaster relief. At home in the Netherlands, the Air Force ensures security from the air. For these purposes, it has highly-qualified personnel, aircraft, helicopters and other weapon systems at its disposal.

Operations abroad

Royal Netherlands Air Force AS532U2 CougarThe Royal Netherlands Air Force plays an important role in international conflict resolution. Its aircraft and helicopters provide air transport capability and overall security from the air. In this way, the Air Force contributes to the enforcement of international law. Operations abroad are carried out in concert with the other armed forces Services as well as NATO and UN Allies.


Disaster relief

The Royal Netherlands Air Force also comes to the aid of victims of natural or man-made disasters and acts of war. By carrying out humanitarian operations, it makes an important contribution to stability around the globe, which is a prerequisite for a peaceful world. This is beneficial to Dutch trade interests and the security of the Netherlands.

The Royal Netherlands Air Force in the Netherlands

At home in the Netherlands, the Royal Netherlands Air Force contributes 24/7 to security:

  • Fighter aircraft are on stand-by for the protection of Dutch airspace;
  • Patrol aircraft carry out coastguard tasks;
  • Military air traffic control plays a part in the safe, orderly and smooth handling of air traffic;
  • Search-and-Rescue helicopters carry out rescue operations at sea and medical evacuations from ships and the West Frisian Islands to hospitals on the mainland.
  • Transport helicopters extinguish large fires and transport persons and materials in the event of serious incidents;
  • Combat helicopters support criminal investigation operations conducted by the police or by the Public Prosecution Service.


Moving into space

In the present day, the working area of the Air Force is not limited to the physical boundaries of the earth’s atmosphere. The development of satellites and rockets is progressing at pace. The Defence organisation is, for example, making use of an increasing number of its own satellites in order to prevent dependence on commercial companies for military communication. Furthermore, the threat of missiles has become greater as they can now, in addition to more traditional ground or air-based launch platforms, also be launched from or via space.

As a consequence, space is gaining importance as an area from which Dutch interests can be defended.

RNLAF News and Information