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Gilze-Rijen Air Base is one of the oldest airfields in the Netherlands, the first aircraft to have landed there being a Blériot in 1910. The first military aircraft activity dates back to 1913 when a Farman aircraft used the field for military exercises which established it as a military airfield.

Republic F-84 Thunderstreak as a gateguard at Gilze-Rijen Air BaseIn 1940 the airfield came under heavy attack from the German Luftwaffe, who later took control of the base and expanded it for their own use. While in German hands during the second world war, the field came under frequent attack from allied forces until the liberation of the south of the Netherlands, after which the British Royal Air Force took control of the airfield.

In 1946 the Royal Netherlands Air Force resumed operations from the airfield, using it as a training base for pilots and air traffic controllers. In 1962, training activity was suspended and Gilze-Rijen was reduced to a reserve base for bomber aircraft. Training activity was resumed in 1967 however. In 1971 the training activity was suspended again when a fighter squadron was moved to the airfield, which also included a significant upgrade of airport facilities. Initially the Northrop F-5 and later its replacement, the Fokker F-16 Fighting Falcon, were operated from the base up until 1995.

In 1995 as a part of a large scale reorganistaion within the Royal Netherlands Air Force the fighter aircraft were moved from Gilze-Rijen and instead the base became the home of Aérospatiale Alouette III helicopters. In 1998, AH-64 Apache attack helicopters followed while the Alouette III helicopters were slowly being phased out, with only a few currently remaining for VIP transport.

In 2009, helicopter operations from Soesterberg Air Base are expected to be moved to Gilze-Rijen Air Base, which will result in CH-47 Chinook and AS 532 Cougar helicopters being based at the airfield, making Gilze-Rijen the main operating base for military helicopters in the Netherlands.

       
Agusta AB-412 KLU
Westland Sea King Mk.48 BAF
NH90 TTH KLU
Mi-24 Hind-Tjsechie_1
Mi-24 Hind-Tjsechie_2
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Mi-24 Hind-Tjsechie_5
RAF Typhoon_01
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Boeing CH-47D Chinook-KLU_1
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Saab Jas-39 Gripen_Hungarian Air Force_01
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Saab Jas-39 Gripen_Hungarian Air Force_14
F-16_Falcon_KLU_01
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Boeing AH-64D Apache_KLU_01
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Boeing AH-64D Apache_KLU_05
Boeing AH-64D Apache_KLU_06
Boeing CH-47D Chinook-KLU_2
Hawker Hunter F.6a_1
Hawker Hunter F.6a_2
Red Arrows RAF_1
Red Arrows RAF_2
Red Arrows RAF_01
C-17 Globemaster III
C-17 Globemaster III_01
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F-16 Falcon-KLU_01
F-16 Falcon-KLU_02
F-16 Falcon-KLU_03
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F-16 Falcon-KLU_05
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