At the request of the regional water board Groot Salland, an F-16 fighter aircraft of the Royal Netherlands Air Force inspected the levees of the river Vecht on 4 June.
The F-16 was equipped with a RecceLite pod, using a photo camera to identify sand boils near levees as an indication of a potential piping failure. The photos were taken from 1,5 km altitude.
The flight was set up by the water board to practice the full procedure of calling in a reconnaissance fighter aircraft in case of an emergency.
The images produced by the RecceLite will be handed over to the water board so levee inspectors can look for suspicious locations where sand is emerging at the surface. This can indicate piping, an internal erosion that can undermine the levee and evenutally cause a breach.
The advance of this kind of levee inspection is the quick assessment of several hundred kilometers of levee in all weather conditions.
It was not the first time for a Dutch regional water board to call in an reconnaissance F-16. In 2011 and 2012 F-16s took infra-red images of levees too, but that were all emergency situations when levees were about to fail.