In 2013, the 313 Squadron from the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) existed 60 years. This birthday was celebrated on the 24th of October, 2013.


After World War II, the School for Fighter pilots was established on Twenthe Air Base. The school's task was to upgrade the skills of Dutch pilots who were trained in the Royal Air Force in England during World War II. For this, the school operated the T-6 Harvard and F-84 (type E and G). In 1952, the School for Fighter pilots borrowed several T-33A aircraft from the United States of America. This deal was part of the so-called Mutual Defence Aid Program (program created by the USA to help rebuild the European countries' armed forces). With these trainer jets, the in America trained Dutch pilots continued their training to be able to fly safely in the much busier European airspace. These T-33s training flight were unofficially known as School for Fighter pilots 2. This second school, located at Volkel Air Base, became the 313th Squadron on December 1st, 1953.

When stationed at Woensdrecht Air Base, the 313 Squadron was disbanded in 1959, to be founded again in 1972. The squadron then moved to Twenthe Air Base. The unit again served as a training- and conversion unit for the in the US and Canada trained Dutch fighter pilots. The squadron was mainly equipped with two-seated NF-5s.

In 1989, the 313 Squadron became fully operational with using the F-16. The squadron logo then was changed. Initially, the emblem was a young bird above a runway, but because the training tasks were replaced by operational offensive tasks, a different logo was chosen. The choice was made for a tiger, with the text Scherpgetand, which freely translated means 'sharply serrated'. Since October 1990, the unit is a member of the NATO Tiger Association (NTA). In that regard, the unit regularly participates in a Tiger Meet (exercise in planning and flying of complex air operations with various types of aircraft and helicopters of different countries, all with a tiger in their logo). In 1992 (Twenthe) and in 2010 (Volkel), the 313 Squadron was the organizer and host for this almost annually held exercise.

In 1993, the 313 Squadron was assigned with both air support as air defence tasks, according to the swing-role principle, which means fast switching between tasks. However, it wasn't long before the squadron was re-assigned with the task of training fighter pilots (April 1994). In 2001, the 306 Squadron took over this task and the 313 Squadron got back its swing-role tasks again. Due to cutbacks, Twenthe Air Base was closed on December 1st, 2005 and the unit moved to Volkel Air Base. The only RNLAF Tiger squadron is still located there, fulfilling its swing-role tasks.

Anniversary and reunion

On 24 October 2013, the 313 Squadron celebrated its 60th birthday. All former employees were welcome for the reunion. The anniversary took place in the unit's maintenance hangars and at the platform in front of the hangars at Volkel Air Base.

The squadron also invited other Tiger Squadrons for this anniversary. The 36º Stormo, part of the 12º Gruppo air base of Gioia del Colle in Italy, attended with two EF2000 Typhoons. The 31 Squadron from the Belgian air base Kleine Brogel sent two F-16s, one with tiger graphics on the tail. Also a Czech delegation was present. A part of the squadrons history was showed in the air by the Dutch Hawker Hunter Foundation who displayed their two Hunters. The RNLAF Historical Flight brought a Harvard. This trainer aircraft was the first aircraft that flew with the 313 Squadron. Shortly after a word of welcome by squadron commander Lieutenant-Colonel Van Egmond the party started.