RNIAF F-16 Pilots Play in the Clouds
The 'Testgroup F-16' is not a squadron in the real sense of the word. All squadrons within the RNlAF are tasked to fly test missions with F-16 fighters. However the team at Volkel AB became bigger with more staff and a designated testing aircraft. This to perform tests that the USAF did not perform or in a different environment. In 1984 the first F-16A #J-646 was equipped with special wiring for this testing duty. It was called 'Orange Jumper' because of the orange color all the test wiring had. This to prevent mixing up the test wiring and the regular F-16 wiring. Because of the extensive testing that needed to be done on the F-16 another airframe, F-16B #J-653 was converted with test wiring. The first real integration testing that was performed within the group was the AGM-65D 'Maverick'. This missile was extensively tested in the 1985-1986 timeframe with 84 mission flown from Volkel AB. It was decided at that point that the weapons serviceability was too low since its tracking could be seriously disturbed by smoke or bad weather and the workload for one pilot would be too high as well. In 1996 the Dutch purchased the AGM-65G version of the Maverick who doesn't have these shortcomings anymore and with the integration of the MLU version the workload of the pilot was kept to a minimum.