Valkenburg Naval Air Base
|Valkenburg Naval Air Base
|IATA: LID – ICAO: EHVB|
|Operator||Royal Netherlands Navy|
|Elevation AMSL||0 ft / 0 m|
Valkenburg Naval Air Base (Dutch: Vliegkamp Valkenburg) (IATA: LID, ICAO: EHVB) is a former air base located just south of Valkenburg, which is part of Katwijk and close to the city of Leiden, that was used by the Royal Netherlands Navy up until 2006, being their base for the Lockheed P-3 Orion aircraft. The Orions were sold to Germany and Portugal, resulting in the closure of the air base. Though officially closed as an airport, it still sees limited use for special events and by gliders and occasionally small piston aircraft, most of which from local flying club Aeroclub Valkenburg. Current plans however are to use the area for housing development, but part of the former air base may remain in use for glider flying.
Construction of the air base was commenced in 1939, but not completed before the start of the Second World War. Fights around the airfield during the Battle of the Netherlands resulted in significant losses on both sides. After Germany occupied the Netherlands, the German military completed construction of the air base for their own use, naming it Fliegerhorst Katwijk. It was used by the German Luftwaffe until 1943, when it was converted into a decoy airfield.
After the war it briefly served as a home for the Royal Netherlands Air Force air transport wing, but in 1947 the Navy received control of the air base. After Ypenburg Airport was closed in 1992, many VIP flights for the government and the Royal Family moved to Valkenburg. The base closed in 2006 after the sale of the Navy's Lockheed P-3 Orion aircraft. The former air base still sees limited general aviation, mostly by the local Aeroclub Valkenburg. The area is expected to be redeveloped for housing however, with flying activities most likely being suspended in 2016. One of the hangars of the base has been converted into a theatre, and is currently being used for the musical Soldier of Orange.
In March of 2014 Valkenburg was used as the home base for both police and military helicopters providing security during the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit. The military stationed Eurocopter Cougar, AH-64 Apache and CH-47 Chinook helicopters at the former Naval Air Base for this purpose. For additional anti-aircraft protection, the NASAMS system was also deployed. To support the operation, temporary fuel and ammunition storage was created and a temporary air traffic control tower was established.
A Zeppelin NT at Valkenburg
- Abandoned, Forgotten & Little-Known Airfields in Europe (2012) Valkenburg, article retrieved 22 March, 2014.
- War over Holland, Valkenburg, retrieved 22 March, 2014.
- Aeroclub Valkenburg, website retrieved 22 March, 2014.
- Defensie Magazine - Valkenburg weer even militair terrein (Dutch), article retrieved 22 March, 2014.
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