2009 Gun Range Vliehors
Our Photo reporter Rob Vogelaar joined a group of the magazine “Onze Luchtmacht” on a visit to the Royal Netherlands Gun range in the “Waddenzee” Vliehors. to see what’s going on there.?On this site you can find a selection of photographs he took that day. (Click the Thumbs for larger photo)
The only place in the Netherlands where fighters and bombers can practice with live ammunitions, is the Cornfield Range or Vliehors, on the Wadden Island Vlieland.
F-16′s of the Netherlands Air Force and aircraft of other NATO air forces are daily visitors of the gunnery range, and is opened Monday to Friday. With a area of 17 square kilometres its the biggest beach of Europe.
On 2 May 1948 the first exercise took place. The targets were made of red rags numbered from 1 till 6 tied between 2 poles. The observation tower was existing of a simple building of bricks standing on top of an old German WWII bunker.
Now days the control tower is replaced to the centre of the Cornfield Range. And strafing targets were introduced, ?this hardboard targets are Saab hit recorders attached who registers’ the impacts of the bullets, and ?you can find “Leopard I Main Battle Tanks as targets for tank killers like the A-10A Thunderbolt II, who use? 30mm PGU-15/B TP target practice ammunition.
Live bombing with General Purpose bombs like the Mk-82 in slick and retarded version can only dropped in the period from 15 September till 28 February. The rest of the year they use the Mk-106, retarded practice bomb, to simulate a high drag Mk-82 his weight is about 2.5 kg. Or the use the BDU-33 is used to simulate the Mk-82 low drag version. Its weight is about 12.5 kg.
Every Friday they clean up the range, and in the weekends the Vliehors is for the tourist to enjoy the beautiful landscape.
A control tower in the middle of a shooting range isn’t always a safe place for the crew. On 15 September 1992 a Danish F-16 loaded with rocket pods scored 5 direct hits. One person was lightly wounded of the 14 at the control tower. After this accident the control tower was replaced by the present one.
On 22 February 2001 the tower was hit 7 times by bullets of a German Tornado, no one was hurt.
On 5 august 1969 members of the range were hit by bullets of a Dutch F-104 Starfighter, he mistakenly fired with his 20mm cannon on the 2 trucks of the 5 crew members who had to repair the targets. Killed one person, wounded three and one didn?t hurt.
A total of 29 aircraft are crashed during exercise at the Cornfield Range. At Vlieland Village you can find the Search an Rescue helicopter of the Royal Netherlands Air Force, normally based at Leeuwarden Air Base, but during opening times of the Vliehors they are based on the island.
Photo’s: Rob Vogelaar, zap16.com