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Light Aircraft Group
Groep Lichte Vliegtuigen (GPLV) 1

  299 SqltvltgnStstsq GPLVOnhmatsq302 Sqltvltgn300 Sqltvltgn298 SqltvltgnGPLV [Gpltvltgn]
Unit Main Equipment Location Peace Strength War Strength
Staff and Staff Squadron
Light Aircraft Group
              Deelen 26/45/38 (109)
28/65/63 (156)
298 Light Aircraft Squadron 24 x Alouette III Soesterberg 48/45/60 (153) 56/50/77 (183)
299 Light Aircraft Squadron [a] 24 x BO-105C Deelen 48/45/60 (153) 56/50/77 (183)
300 Light Aircraft Squadron 18 x Alouette III
Deelen 31/42/51 (124) 38/39/65 (142)
302 Light Aircraft Squadron [b] 18 x Alouette III 44/43/74 (161)
Maintenance and Materiel Squadron                   Soesterberg 6/95/70 (171) 6/100/98 (204)

Light Aircraft Group Peace Strength: 159/272/279 (710)
Light Aircraft Group War Strength: 228/347/454 (1029)


a.Between October 1986 and February 1990 the squadron's helicopters were upgraded with low-light intensifying night vision goggles and navigation and stabilisation equipment for nighttime operations. This changed the helicopter type to BO-105CB.2
b. Filled by mobilisable personnel that had served in 299 Light Aircraft Squadron up to eight and a half years prior to mobilisation.3 The pilots would be Royal Air Force reservists, as much as possible still active as helicopter pilots in civilian life.

Operational Role 4

The GPLV helicopter fleet, comprising thirty BO-105C and sixty-six Alouette III helicopters, was operated by the Royal Air Force and owned by the Royal Army.5 The helicopters were unarmed. In peacetime GPLV fell under the Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force, who delegated command to Commander Tactical Air Force. The squadrons operated from Deelen Air Base and Soesterberg Air BasePilots and flight-technical personnel belonged to the Royal Air Force, the onboard spotters/observers and other personnel belonged to the Royal Army. GPLV's operational role was to fly scouting, liaison and light transport missions for Commander 1 (NL) Corps, under whose command they would fall in wartime. The scouting role would comprise missions for tactical control, surveillance and combat intelligence purposes as well as directing artillery fire or close air support (Airborne Forward Control, AFAC). The helicopters could also function as airborne radio relay stations. In the scouting role the helicopters would often fly extremely low, making use of terrain cover as much as possible. The entire group was fully mobile and would in wartime operate from the field rather than from air force bases. In the warning phase or first mobilisation phase (NATO Military Vigilance or Simple Alert) the group would deploy to its operational location(s) in West-Germany, likely situated in the Corps Rear Area or the Rear Combat Zone.5
In peacetime 300 Squadron operated with twenty-four rather than eighteen Alouette III helicopters, providing the Helicopter Type and Theatre Conversion, the Elementary Tactical Helicopter Course and the Advanced Tactical Helicopter Course for 298 and 299 Squadron. On mobilisation the six Alouette III helicopters shed by 300 Squadron supplemented with fifteen machines pulled from the maintenance reserve would be used to equip the mobilisable 302 and 301 Squadron. The group's reserve further included six BO-105C helicopters.6

1. In some Army documents the somewhat cumbersome abbreviation "Gpltvltgn"is used.
2.Helfferich, Squadrons (1994), 117-118.
3. NIMH 205A/10, Aflossing van mobilisabele eenheden en -aanvullingen d.d. 27 mei 1980. Ibid., d.d. 11 november 1983. Ibid., d.d. 17 juni 1985.
4. For this section and the distribution of helicopters: NL-HaNA 2.13.182, inv. nr. 663, Concept krijgsmachtdeelplan Koninklijke Luchtmacht 1987-1996 d.d. 20 december 1985, 58-59. Helfferich, Nederlandse Koninklijke, 50, 127-135. Helfferich, Squadrons (1983), 71. Helfferich, op. cit., 109-128. De Jong, Vlucht, 215, 279-286, 395-396. Van Loo, Crossing, 232-233. De Winter, Een eeuw, 150-151.
5.Deployment in wartime: on telegram N command would pass from the Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force to Commander 1 (NL) Corps. NIMH 430, inv. nr. 54 (Slagorde KL stand 1 juli 1985), Blad E en S2. Depending the circumstances telegram N would invoke the warning phase or the first mobilisation phase of the Royal Army's mobilisation plan. VS 2-1050/1A, II-7. This would correspond with NATO Military Vigilance or, at the latest, NATO Simple Alert. NL-HaNA 2.13.148, inv. nr. 694, Alarmboek LLC d.d. 17 februari 1987, Deel I, Hoofdstuk 2.  
6.On 2 October 1985 a BO-105C crashed, which brought the total number of machines down to twenty-nine, and the reserve presumably to five. Helfferich, op.cit., 119.