Text: Serge Van Heertum - Pictures: Jacques Vincent © sbap 2014

Karup Air Base is the main station of the Royal Danish Air Force. The base is located 3 km west of the city of Karup in the mid-Jutland. The base covers 3000 hectares of land of which only a third is inside the operational area marked by a 17 km long fence. The air base was built during the German Occupation in 1940 named "Einsatzhafen Grove" (later Flieger-Horst Grove) to facilitate the offensive operations against England. Later in the war, it became a base for defensive fighter planes. Following the British advance into Denmark in May 1945, a group of nine Arado Ar 234B reconnaissance bombers were found at the base and subsequently transferred to Farnborough to be studied. By December 1945 the base was taken over by the Danish Civil Air Defence, using it as a refugee camp counting 22.000 German refugees. In January 1946 the control of the site was transferred to the Royal Danish Army, continuing to use it as refugee camp until 1949. In 1947 the Danish Army Air Corps established a flying school, a maintenance center and logistics office at Karup, preparing the arrival of Meteor, Oxford and Spitfire airplanes. When the Royal Danish Air Force settled in in 1950 the area was renamed Air Base Karup. During the post-war years Karup Air Base became a central part of Denmark's NATO defence plan and played a major role in the establishment of the Royal Danish Air Force. In 1955 the Tactical Air Command was also installed at Karup.
Several American produced planes were stationed at the base in the 1950's and 1960's, among them  Lockheed T-33A, Republic F-84F, RF-84F and North American F-100D & F Super Sabre. In 1970 the Royal Danish Air Force purchased two squadrons of Swedish Draken’s strike fighters and based them at Karup. During the 1980's and 1990's several smaller units of the Royal Danish Air Force moved from Værløse Air Base near Copenhagen and Vandel Air Base in southern Jutland to Karup Air Base. In 1993 the Army Operational Command was placed at the air base also.
Wings and units:
RDAF Helicopter Wing Karup:
Esk 722 (EH101 Mk512), Esk 723 (Super Lynx Mk90B) & Esk 724 (AS550C2 Fennec)
RDAF Flyveskolen (FLSK): Saab T-17 Supporter
RDAF Air Control Wing
RDAF Combat Support Wing
RDAF Specialist School
RDAF Training Centre
RDAF Expeditionary Air Staff

An old Draken as ggate guardian with the current squadron insigna

Making a trip to Karup was a unique opportunity to see the Danish Air Force in action and have a look at their modern fleet. The Danish Air Force is a small force but takes part into NATO operations with a great determination and is an important link in the northern European defence chain. This airshow was also the occasion to see the interest they put in historical planes like the Douglas C-47A, the former trainer aircraft Chipmunk and the locally produced SAI KZ-IV, all preserved in flying conditions. Foreign visitors were, of course, a Swedish Saab J-39C and a Finnish F-18C from the neighboring countries. German Luftwaffe Typhoon and Czech L-159 were also present during this sunny and windy airshow.

Decidedly the stars of the show were coming from the US. Two Boeing F-18F from the US Navy came to this show as a first step towards a European promotional tour. Both aircraft are foreseen to attempt the airshows of Fairford and Farnborough in the UK but will also spent a week (30/6 until 04/07) in Belgium at Florennes air base. This will happen due to the desire of Belgian authorities to launch the replacement of the F-16’s. We already know that the F-35 is in the running and in the mind but the Superhornet is also a potential candidate. Wait and see.
An airshow without aerobatic teams is not an airshow! Karup Air Base has welcomed some of them like the Royal Air Force “Red Arrows”, the Polish “Iskra” team, their own “Baby Blue” team and the Belgian Air Force “Red Devils”. The Belgian team won the best military team award. Good show “Reds” and proud to be Belgian!
To conclude, this was a very interesting airshow and returning back to the northern countries to watch unusual airshows is definitely a clear option for the coming years.

General view of Karup airshow 2014

SAI KZ-IV Piper L-4 Cub
Antonov AN-2 "Colt"
Douglas C-47A
De Havilland Canada DHC-1 "Chipmunk" Danish are well attached to their aviation history
Saab T-17 from "Baby Blue" team

Potez CM-170 Fouga Magister

Eurocopter EC-135 T2
Aero L-29 "Delfin"
Lockheed-Martin C-130J power demo
Human towing...
Full flares final
EH 101 "Merlin" demo
Eurocopter AS 550 C2 "Fennec"
Westland Lynx Mk 90B from Danish Navy
Lockheed-Martin F-16AM solo display
Eurofighter "Typhoon" Luftwaffe solo display
Aero L-39C
Finnish Air Force F-18C solo display
   
Belgian Air Force "Red Devils" Siai-Marchetti SF.260M
   
Danish Air Force F-16AM nine ship formation before the attack of the base
Swedish Air Force Saan J-39C "Gripen" solo display
Polish Air Force "Iskra" team with their PZL TS-11
Aero L-159 Alca solo display from Czech Air Force
US Navy Boeing F-18F "Superhornet"
Both planes are in a European tour and will be in Belgium for evaluation begin of July and at Fornborought after
One of the possible candidate for the Belgian F-16's replacement
The great final was ensured by the Royal Air Force "Red Arrows" team
Support aircraft: Dassault Falcon 20 of the Belgian air Force And a Polish Air Force Casa C-295M

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