Starfighters for the Netherlands

Last revised December 12, 1999

A total of 138 Starfighters was delivered to the Koninklijke Luchtmacht (Royal Netherlands Air Force, or KLu). These consisted of 95 F/RF-104Gs manufactured by the North (Fokker) group, twenty-five F-104Gs manufactured by Fiat and the Italian group, and eighteen TF-104Gs built by Lockheed. They were intended to replace the Republic F-84F/RF-84Fs and Lockheed RT-33As that were serving with the KLu.

The F-104G entered Dutch service in December of 1962 with No. 306 Squadron based at Twenthe. No 306 served as the operational conversion unit for the training of Starfighter crews from all the other KLu F-104G squadrons that were forming at the time. In January of 1964, this unit converted from F/TF-104Gs to RF-104G reconnaissance aircraft, and its responsibility for Starfighter crew training was transferred to the "Dutch Masters" operational conversion unit based at Leeuwarden. The F-104Gs were operated in the interceptor role by Nos. 322 and 323 Squadrons based at Leeuwarden and in the fighter-bomber role with Nos. 311 and 312 Squadrons based at Volkel.

In the early 1980s, the Dutch Starfighters were replaced by European-built F-16A/B Fighting Falcons. Conversion from F-104Gs was begun by the two interceptor squadrons in 1979, and in June of 1984, No 312 Squadron stood down as the last KLu operational F-104G unit. When No. 312 Squadron disbanded, its 18 F-104Gs and two four TF-104Gs were transferred to the CAV at Volkel until their last formal flypast on November 21, 1984.

Some 43 KLu Starfighters (35.8 percent of the force) were lost in accidents. Following their withdrawal from service, the surviving KLu Starfighters were transferred to Greece and Turkey.

KLu serials were assigned according to the manufacturer's construction numbers, so there are some gaps which correspond to Starfighters delivered to other nations.

The following units of the KLu operated Starfighters:


  1. The Lockheed F-104G/CF-104, Gerhard Joos, Aircraft in Profile No. 131, Doubleday, 1969.

  2. The World's Great Interceptor Aircraft, Gallery Books, 1989.

  3. Lockheed F-104 Starfighter, Steve Pace, Motorbooks International, 1992.

  4. Lockheed Aircraft Since 1913, Rene J. Francillon, Naval Institute Press, 1987.

  5. Lockheed F-104 Starfighter, John Fricker, Wings of Fame, Vol 2, Aerospace Publishing Ltd, 1996.