The Fokker F27-100/300M Friendships/Troopships were the workhorses of the Royal Netherlands Air Force (KLU, Koninklijke Luchtmacht) for decades until they were taken out of service in 1996. During this period they severed in a variety of task. In the Caribbean two Fokker F27-200 Maritime were active until 2000
Delivery to the Royal Netherlands Air Force
Design of Fokker F27 was started as a response for a required replacement of the Douglas DC-3. Fokker adopted a high-wing, twin Rolls-Royce Dart powered design with pressurised cabin for 28 passengers. The first of two Fokker F27 prototypes made its first flight on 24 November 1955 and the second on 29 January 1957. Deliveries by Fokker began in November 1958 and were continuous through almost 30 years.
Twelve aircraft were purchased by the Koninklijke Luchtmacht, the first three being Fokker F27-100 friendships, the remainder were 37 seater Fokker F27-300M troopships. They were delivered between July 1960 and April 1961.
The Fokker F27-300M Troopship a military transport variant was developed for the Royal Netherlands Air Force with an extra-large cargo door and other modifications to make it suitable for transporting cargo.
Two maritime patrol Fokker F27-200MAR were ordered to replace the P-2 Neptune serving in the Caribbean as a cost-effective surveillance aircraft for coastal patrol, fishery protection, search and rescue and similar offshore duties with delivery starting in 1981.
Three Fokker 27-100 were delivered as passenger aircraft (C-1 to C-3) off which C-1 was configured as a VIP aircraft. This VIP aircraft was used as a spare for the Royal family.
In the first years of service the Fokker 27 did not only perform the transport role but was used in a verity off roles Fokker F27’s C-5, C-6 and C-7 were converted to navigation trainers, replacing the BeechTC-45J aircraft used in this role.
Fokker F27 C-8 was used in the training of F-104 Starfighter pilot, fitted with a nose section of the F-104G it was soon called “Flipper”. The nose cone contained a NASSAR radar system and operated by a console in the passenger cabin and was used to introduce Starfighter pilots to radar navigation. All aircraft where converted back to their original state at one point.
Fokker F-27 C-9 and C-11 were at some point leased to NLM, registered PH-KFA and PH-KFB in May 1966. They were returned in May 1972.
During their service life some of the aircraft where modified to serve during peace keeping operations in Cambodia, the Balkan but also deployments during the Gulf war.
These modification where mostly related to self defence against missiles. And a white paint scheme for UN recognisability.
The first Fokker F27-200MPA aircraft, M-1, arrived at Hato on 13November 1981. The Fokker F27-200MPA operated for most of their operational life from here. In 1984 one aircraft the M-2 is deployed to the Persian Gulf to assist in mine control. One of the greatest problems faced by the squadron is corrosion; it became so bad that a team from Fokker was send over to help with the repairs.
Deployments and shows.
During its service life the Fokker F27 where involved in deployments for the UN and humanitarian cases. These ranged from deployments to Senegal in 1973 to add the people of West Africa during a period prolonged drought, to assistance to Romania after the fall off the Ceausescu regime in 1989. For the UN deployments were done to Cambodia, the Balkan and Israel to name a few. The Fokker F27 was the workhorse off the air force going everywhere where needed until the arrival of the bigger transport planes in the air force.
The Fokker F27-300M Troopship is probably best known for its amazing displays by 334 squadron. The first display was in 1970 during the air show at Volkel AB.
In the following years the display become more of a show off what was possible when a fighter pilot was flying a cargo plane. Whit steep declines and low take offs the team amazed the crowds during its first attendance at the RIAT in Greenham Common 1979, and winning the “International Display Sword” in the process. During the following years the team preformed at multiple shows in Europe.
At first the team operated the Fokker F-27 in a standard camouflage scheme, later this was changed in a special designed paint scheme. The team continued to the last years of operating the Troopship.
Squadrons equipped with the Fokker 27
The squadron was formed in 1946 but as it continued the traditions of No. 1316 (Dutch) Communications Flight of the RAF also known as the Transportvliegtuig afdeling 1 (TransVA 1), a date off July 7th 1944 is also mentioned.
After returning from the United Kingdom it was first stationed at Valkenburg AB until this becomes a NAS in 1957 and the squadron moves to Ypenburg AB. In this period the squadron uses a mix off airplanes including; Dominie, Lockheed 12A, Beaver’s and Dakota’s. With the introduction of the Fokker F27 most of the other types were phased out with the last Beaver leaving the squadron in 1966.
On 23 August 1960 the first of twelve Fokker F27s was delivered to the squadron. The unit received three Fokker F27-100 Friendships and nine Fokker F27-300M Troopships
In 1968 the squadron moved to Soesterberg AB were it stayed until May1992 before the last move to Eindhoven AB where it still is stationed. Today it operates the (K) DC-10, Gulfstream and Fokker 50 aircraft.
Squadron 336 was established on 1 September 1961 to take over the transport tasks of the Royal Netherlands Navy in Netherlands New Guinea (West Papua). From its home base Mokmer New Guinea the unit operated theC-47 Dakotas in the transport role. A year later the squadron was disbanded after a cease fire was agreed.
With the introduction of the Fokker F27 maritime the squadron was brought back to live in 1981 at Soesterberg AB. The squadron was equipped with two Fokker F27-200MPA aircraft for maritime patrol duties in the Netherlands Antilles region replacing the Navy P-2 Neptune of 320Squadron. The first aircraft, M-1, arrived at Hato on 13 November 1981.The aircraft flew their missions with a mixed crew from the Air force and the Navy until June 2000, when the squadron was disbanded again during a round off defence cuts.
The squadron has since been brought back to live as a transport squadron operating the C-130 Hercules from Eindhoven AB. During the last reactivation the squadron’s motto and insignia changed to represent the new task.
End of the line
In 1996 the Fokker 27-100 and 300M became obsolete with the introduction of newer Fokker 50 and Fokker 60 aircraft. After the withdrawal from active service in 1996 most of the airframes were placed in storage and kept in airworthy condition in an effort to sell them. At one point there was an effort to make one aircraft available for the RNLAF Historical flight. Some were sold as complete aircraft and others for spares.
The Fokker 27-200M returned to Eindhoven AB in 2000 after the squadron was disbanded for storage. They were sold and finely scraped at southend airport.
Some Fokker 27 remains in the Netherlands as instructional airframes and in the Air force Museum in Soesterberg.