F-104s in Sweden (updated)

One of the stories not known to many of us is the visit by Dutch Air Force Starfighters to Sweden early 70s.
Participating aircraft were D-8013 (306sq), D-6668 (312sq), D-6670 (312sq), D-6655 (322/323sq), D-8098 (322/323sq) and D-8304 (322/323sq).

A special orientation and representation visit to Sweden was organized by Commodore Drost and likely related to the upcoming replacement of the F-104 Starfighter.
The Swedes offered their Saab Viggen as valid successor.
It was May 23rd, 1972 when six Starfighters landed at Nykoping AFB, East Sweden. Together with two extra pilots and 9 crewchiefs it became quite a delegation.
Nykoping was homebase of F11 equipped with recce version of the Saab Draken at that time.
Participating pilots were Sgt Maj Ton Kooijmans (312sq Volkel), Kiek Okkerman (306sq Volkel), Capt Gerrit Kooistra (312sq Volkel), Ton Helders, Sgt Maj Cees Koster (323sq Leeuwarden), Elt Guus Nieuwenhuis (322sq Leeuwarden) and Harm de Jong.  Sgt Maj Ton Kooijmans was sectionleader for this trip and Lt Col Visser responsible for the event.

26 May 1972. We did not buy any Saab Viggen but we enjoyed the trip... From left to right pilots Harm de Jong, LtCol. Mat Visser, Ton Kooymans. Guus Nieuwenhuis, SgtMaj Kees Koster and Ton Helders. 

The delegation was not allowed to fly any further in Sweden, except up and down from the Netherlands, above Swedish airspace escorted by Saab Draken aircraft.
Sadly there were no demonstration rides planned in one of the two-seater Viggens or Drakens but instead the delegation visited the impressive aircraft hangars build under ground inside the Swedish mountains.
These underground shelters were not located at the Airbase of Nykoping. It was an other Airbase (name unknown) located directly along the sea at the east coast.
The delegation also went by bus up and down to Stockholm in 1 day.  On an other day Commodore Droste visited the airbase for a formal part of the event which ended May 26th.
The runways at Nykoping were extreme short and narrow, not meeting the NATO standard requirements and it was quite challenging for the F-104 pilots.
Overall the team enjoyed the visit which was quite extraordinary. They also departed back home with the F-104's on May 26th.
Note: We all know that eventually the Dutch Air Force decided to select the F-16 aircraft in May 1975. to replace the F-104G from 1979.

The delegation standing before a Saab Draken fighter jet. From left to right Swedish Officer, Guus Nieuwenhuys, Ton Helders, Harm de Jong, Swedish Officer, LtCol Visser, Ton Kooijmans, Kees Koster and a Swedish Officer.

Thanks to Guus Nieuwenhuis, Michael de Boer, Kees Koster, Dick de Ruiter and Rob Breur for providing information and photos.



  1. Anders Frykholm

    We´re discussing this post in the Draken-forum on Facebook, some information that is confusing.

    It seems that you´re mixing up two different Swedish Air Force wings/bases. F7 wing in Såtenäs is located in the western part of Sweden, adjacent to Lake Vänern, some 30 kms south-west from the town of Lidköping, while F11 wing was located just west of the city of Nyköping, on the Eastern coast, some 100 kms south of Stockholm. F11 was a reconnaissance wing (4 squadrons), which makes it a question why your F-104s were visiting that base?

    Neither F7 Såtenäs, nor F11 Nyköping had any underground hangars so the Dutch delegation must have visited another air-base, could have been F-18 in Tullinge, just 20 kms south of Stockholm. The Draken in the background is not a recce-Draken but a fighter version, sadly the wing-number is not on the nose so its impossible to see where it came from.

    Furtheron, the SK37 was introduced in Air Force service in June 1972, at Såtenäs. Could have been the reason why the Dutch delegation was not allowed to take a ride.

    Swedish air force runways are designed for short take off and landing, so concrete-hungry F-104s was surely going to miss a couple of meters.

    Best regards


    1. Harry Prins Post author

      Hello Draken Forum, we checked the locations with the pilots. They searched and found out that they were at Nykoping AFB, East Sweden.
      They went by bus up and down to Stockholm in 1 day. The underground shelters were not located at the Airbase of Nykoping. It was an other Airbase (name unknown) located directly along the sea at the east coast.
      To identify the Draken, there seems to be another photo of these aircraft. We will see if we can get scans of it.
      Harry (International F-104 Society / chairman)

  2. Gene West

    I flew with the 197th Arizona ANG 1952-63. Our Sqn flew 104A Zippers. 1960 the Sqn was activated and sent to Ramstein AB..I flew a 104B to Stevanger,Norway to train their ground crews in servicing the A/C. One of my disapointments was not flying to Sweden while in Norway. After that tour our 104s returned to Arizona, but a year later were replaced with C97s…After 2 years flying that monster I returned to the USAF at Luke AFB training German pilots in the 104G..1966-67 a tour in Thailand flying the104C..First mission was at night O-dark 30 and my first air refueling! 1968-70 was an exchange pilot with the Canadian AF..Learned to speak Canadian and watch hockey..Drank alot of Molson..
    1970-74 at Ramstein with the DOON team,flying 104s with 20 NATO Squadrons…Back to Luke AFB
    1975-79 104 Stan Eval. 2000+ hours in the Zipper and only jettisoned the aircraft once..

    1. Harry Prins Post author

      Very nice story Gene!! Especially your visit to Norway.
      Hope everything is fine with you!

      Harry (International F-104 Society / chairman)

    2. Peer Dekkers

      Hi Gene,
      I remember you personally from your time at the DOON team. I still have a 1973 Qualification Certificate of that period where you signed me off on Acceptance Checks and Written Examination. Don’t know If we ever shared a cockpit, on my certificates it’s major Grabman. I flew 104’s till they were phased out here in Holland in 1984. After that F-5’s, F-16’s and I ended flying on T-37’s as IP and ops off with the 89th FTS at Sheppard.
      Hope you’re still doing well.

  3. "Speedy" Haringa

    on the top photo the rightmost guy is not Ton Helders but Kiek Okkerman.
    ret. RNLAF fighter pilot

  4. Peter Grimm

    This interesting story found its way to the Dutch aviation magazine ‘Luchtvaartkennis’ 2015, nr. 3 (KNVvL). Still, the registrations of the participating aircraft do not match with the actual photographs as far as I can establish.
    D-6655, D-6668, D-6700, D-8013, D-8129 plus another ‘104’ visited Sweden, according to the illustrations. I believe that ‘Kiek’ Okkerman had the opportunity to fly the Viggen during a later visit.

    Peter Grimm,
    the Netherlands

    1. Harry Prins Post author

      Thanks Peter for mentioning. I will check for the magazine, hopefully I can find it somewhere for sale.

      1. coen

        ik heb het blad in mijn winkel 😉

  5. Gene West

    Keep up the great work, harry.

  6. caner kaptanoglu


    I am an Turkish aviation entusisast, and i got posession of D-8304′ s ram air turbine door after being scrapped unfortunately. I will preserve it the best way i can. I would love to share pictures with you. It still holds the danish markings perhaps never been flown and used as a spare part here.

    best regards,

  7. Harry Prins Post author

    According Hans van der Werf, Rob Prins, Guy Putker and also Kees Koster confirmed that the most right person on the pilots photo is Ton Helders.


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