Why is no instrument landing system (ILS) going to be installed on the Dutch side of the base?
NATO Air Base Geilenkirchen is equipped with radar for air traffic control. This enables our air traffic controllers to ‘talk pilots down’ to the runway from either direction. The German side of the runway - our preferred runway for reasons relating to noise pollution control and other aspects - is also equipped with an instrument landing system enabling pilots to guide themselves by using onboard instruments, and an air traffic controller on the ground is not essential. As both a radar-controlled landing and an ILS landing make about the same amount of noise, there is no major difference between them in that respect. To ensure that an ILS can operate without hindrance, large areas of terrain have to be kept completely obstacle-free. On the Dutch side that would require not the topping but the cutting down of the trees in large areas of woodland there. An ILS is more accurate than radar control: aircraft are therefore able to land with the aid of ILS under worse weather conditions than they are permitted to do under radar control. That is certainly an operational advantage, but there is no operational necessity to have an ILS for both runways. In view of the mandatory requirement for the rigorous cutting down of trees the installation of an ILS on the Dutch side was designated as unacceptable within the AWACS Limburg Committee.