With a loud sonic boom, two F-16 fighter aircraft from Volkel Air Base broke the sound barrier over Soesterberg the 20th of may 2011. The military air combat and air traffic control centre in Nieuw Milligen had ordered them to intercept an aircraft after radio contact with that aircraft had suddenly been lost.
Over Leeuwarden the fighter pilot managed to re-establish contact with the pilots of the airliner, after signalling to them by hand. The F-16s then escorted the aircraft, which was en route to Stockholm, as far as the German area of responsibility.
For the defence of the airspace over the Netherlands, F-16s are on standby for the Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) task 24 hours-a-day, 7 days-a-week. If an unidentified aircraft is reported in Dutch airspace, the F-16s of the Royal Netherlands Air Force are in the air within a few minutes to intercept the aircraft. Orders for intercepting an aircraft are issued by NATO and sent to the Nieuw Milligen Air Operations Control Station. This military air traffic control and air combat control centre alerts the F-16s on permanent standby and "talks" them to their objective.
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