Netherlands Naval Aviation Service
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Naval Aviation

Current Title: Marine Luchtvaartdienst
Title in English: Royal Netherlands Naval Air Service
Abbreviation: MLD


Narrative Summary:
Narrative history of the MLD

Key Dates:
MLD Chronology

Current Status:
The MLD is the air arm of the Royal Netherlands Navy (Koninklijke Marine). It's main tasks are maritime patrol, anti-submarine warfare and search and rescue. The personnel of the MLD are well trained and well equipped. The professional expertise that they bring to NATO naval operations is highly valued.

The withdrawal of the P-3C Orion from operations and the associated closure of Valkenburg air base has seen the MLD become an helicopter only service.

Future Plans:
20 NFH.90 NFH helicopters are on order to replace the Lynx from 2007.
MVK De Kooy will close when the Lynx is retired. Presumably, the NH90s will be based at a KLu air base.


National Insignia:
Current --- Historical

Aircraft Serial Numbering System(s):
Aircraft Serial Numbering

Unit/Base Aircraft Code System(s):
Tail Codes


Aircraft Designation System(s):
To be added.

Current Aircraft Inventory:
Table of Current Service Aircraft

All-Time Aircraft Used List:
Alphabetical Order --- Chronological Order

Aircraft NOT Used:
False reports of aircraft on order or in service

Aircraft Losses and Incidents:
(List of MLD aircraft losses 1939-1962). See also individual aircraft histories.


Main Headquarters:
Van der Burchlaan 31, NL-2597 PC, Den Haag.

Organisational Structure:
Before World War Two the MLD was essentially organised around the various seaplane bases, with each base having an aircraft flight. In the 1930s the flights in the NEI were given numbers in the GVT xx series, but home-based units appear to have remained un-numbered.
After World War Two the MLD followed the lead of the Royal Navy and adopted a Squadron and Flight-based organisation. Circa 1990 the MLD adopted a Group organisation, comprising a Maritime Patrol Group and a Helicopter Group. Individual aircraft belonged to the Group and were allocated to the Squadrons on a mission-by-mission basis. The Maritime Patrol Group was disbanded in 2005.

Current Order of Battle:
Table of Current Order of Battle

Historical Orders of Battle:
Table of Orders of Battle

All-Time Flying Units List:
All-Time Units List

Air Bases

Current Air Bases:
With the closure of Valkenburg, the MLD currently only operates from one main base - De Kooij, plus a detachment at the airport on Curacao.

All-Time Air Bases Used List:
The MLD initially operated from a number of seaplane bases on the Dutch coast. Later, during the 1930s, some of the important capital ships were equipped with floatplanes for autonomous operation. Additional bases were also constructed in the NEI for seaplane and flying boat operations. After World War Two, the MLD took over the former Army Air Service base at Valkenburg and acquired an aircraft carrier from the Royal Navy. In the late 1960s the single aircraft carrier was replaced by the use of ship-board helicopters on Frigates and Destroyers.
Ship-Flights and Aircraft-Carrying Ships Listing
Shore Bases Listing

More Information


Dutch Military Aviation 1945-1978 by Paul A. Jackson, Midland Counties Publications, 1978
KLuMLD by J.H. Arends et al, APG/GEAS, 1988
The Squadrons Of The Royal Air Force by James J. Halley, Air Britain (Historians) Ltd
The Squadrons Of The Fleet Air Arm by Ray Sturtivant, Air Britain (Historians) Ltd
Air Forces Of The World by William Green, Macdonald & Co, 1958
Air Forces Of The World by Mark Hewish et al, Salamander Books, 1979
Militair 1982 by John Andrade, Aviation Press, 1982
Air Wars And Aircraft by Victor Flintham, Arms & Armour Press, 1989
70 Jaar Marineluchtvaartdienst by N. Geldhof, Uitgeverij Eisma B.V., 1987
The Dutch Naval Air Force Against Japan by Tom Womack, McFarland & Company, 2007


Air International January 1977
Air International August 1992
Air Pictorial February 1962, March 1962
Air International November 1993
Scramble 208 September 1996
Flying Review International November 1967
Air Pictorial September 1983
World Air Power Journal Vol 1 No.1


Koninklijke Marine
(Official Dutch Navy information) - MLD
(Helicopters used by the MLD)

Marine Luchtvaart Dienst MLD
(MLD aircraft photos and short articles)

Overzicht van vliegtuigtypen
(Individual details for many Dutch military aircraft)

Dutch Warplanes 1940 Gallery
(Some WW2 aircraft photos)

De heli's van der MLD
(Some photos of MLD helicopters)

Maritiem Digitaal
(Search engine for Dutch Navy photo collection - including the MLD)

The Netherlands East Indies 1941-1942
(Lots of articles on all aspects of the battle for the NEI in 1941)

MLD Traditiekamer
S.G. Kierte
S.G. Kierte
S.G. Kierte
wikipedia: Marine Luchtvaartdienst
(Dutch text article)

Stichting Vrienden van de Traditiekamer Marineluchtvaartdienst
Marineluchtvaartdienst (MLD)
(Short history and some nice MLD aircraft photos)

(Includes MLD units in the NEI)

Vereniging 'Oud Valkenburg'
(Photos of old MLD aircraft)


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First Created: 12 February 2003 - Last Revised: 26 February 2008
Copyright 2003 John Hayles.    e-mail: