Airbase Værløse

Værløse Air Base (Flystation Værløse) is a former Royal Danish Air Force (RDAF) air base located just south of Værløse, Furesø Municipality, 20 kilometres northwest of central Copenhagen, Denmark.

The airbase has a long history that goes back to the days before the Second World War.

Photo | Mark Dyson
Aircarft of RDAF

Helicopters

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Foto : Jan G. Jørgensen (www.nordicairpower.com)

The Royal Danish Air Force (RDAF) was formed as a military service independent from the army and navy in 1950 from the merger of the Danish Army Air Corps originally founded on 2 July 1912 and the Danish Naval Air Service which had been founded on 14 December 1911.

All military aviation had been prohibited during the Nazi occupation from 1940 to 1945 and so as of V-E Day the Danish armed forces had no aircraft, but the Luftwaffe had built or expanded air bases in Denmark.

The air force was led by Lieutenant General C.C.J. Førslev, who had previously served as colonel in the army and as first commander of the Danish Army Air Corps.

The national command was located here at at Værløse Air Base which also served as Command East, while Command West was located at Karup in central Jutland. Royal Air Force volunteer and former member of the Free Norwegian Forces in England, Kaj Birksted, was appointed chief of the flying staff. The rivalries and mutual disrespect between the established officer Førslev, who had never been in air combat himself, and the experienced fighter ace Birksted led to a series of misunderstandings which delayed the operationalization of the air force. Further, the East and West commands lacked experience and knowledge of the newly delivered Gloster Meteor and F-84 Thunderjet aircraft.

The Danish armed forces received 38 surplus Supermarine Spitfire H. F. Mk. IXE and 3 P.R.Mk. XI in 1947-48 plus four additional airframes for ground instruction, which were operated by units of the Hærens Flyvertropper and Marinens Flyvevæsen prior to their merger, and by the Royal Danish Air Force until 1956, when the last examples were retired and all but two scrapped.

One survived for a number of years in a children’s playground. The one surviving instructional airframe was later restored to depict the number ‘401’ Spitfire Mk. IX. This airplane is now preserved at Dansk Veteranflysamling at Stauning Airfield in Jylland.

In 1947 the RDAF established a school for aircraft mechanics, based at here Værløse Air Base. In 1951, the RDAF officers school was inaugurated at Rungstedlund north of Copenhagen, while airmen were educated at Værløse.

The air force received six F-84E Thunderjet and 238 F-84G Thunderjet as military aid from the US, and formed five new squadrons (726 to 730) at Karup Air Base from 1952 to 1954. The rapid expansion caused problems as neither two-seaters nor flight simulators were available, causing 89 crashed F-84’s and 40 pilot casualties. Some casualties were due to the lacking experience in the newly formed air force while others stemmed from the tactics introduced by American WWII and Korean War-veterans based on fast and low flying attacks to avoid anti-aircraft fire.

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To avoid further casualties the air force established a training squadron of two-seated T-33As in 1956 to train US-educated pilots to navigate under local weather conditions. Furthermore, squadron 722 was changed to function as rescue squadron in 1956 and was strengthened by seven Sikorsky S-55 helicopters in 1957. Finally, Air Chief Marshal Hugh Saunders from Royal Air Force was employed in 1954 to reorganize the air force which led to the merger of Command East and West, forming Flyvertaktisk Kommando (Air Tactical Command) with the initial mission to lower the number of crashes during training.

Foto : Jan G. Jørgensen (www.nordicairpower.com)

In 1962 the Royal Danish Army’s four SAM batteries based on Nike missiles were transferred to the air force. They were to defend Copenhagen against Soviet ballistic missiles and high altitude bombers. In 1965 four batteries of Hawk missiles were deployed close to the Nike batteries to protect them from low altitude aircraft.

In the 1960s and 1970s the RDAF operated a number of US financed Lockheed F-104G StarfightersNorth American F-100D and F-100F Super Sabres, and several other types. In 1971 the Danish army created the Royal Danish Army Flying Service as the first air-unit outside the air force, since its creation in 1950. It had observation helicopters and piston-engined artillery spotting aeroplanes. In 1977 the Danish Naval Air Squadron was extracted from squadron 722 to the Danish navy, and it had ship-based helicopters. In a joint arms purchase four NATO countries: Denmark, Norway, Netherlands, and Belgium introduced the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon as their common strike fighter in January 1980.

See the History section to know more about the rich history of Værløse Airbase.