Mali: Two dead in Dutch Apache crash

Two servicemen of the Royal Netherlands Air Force perished today in a Apache helicopter crash in Mali. This was just confirmed by the Chief of the Defence Forces General Tom Middendorp. Preliminary reports state that a mechanical failure was cause for the crash.

The Netherlands participates in a UN-mission working on peace and stability in Mali and protecting the local populace against islamic rebels. The Dutch detachment is based in Gao.

Update 20:22: General Middendorp says that the crash occured during an exercise about 50km north of Gao.

Update 21:10: According to MoD press release it was a live-fire exercise. A French attack helicopter was first at the scene after which Dutch Special Forces secured the area on the ground.

Update 21:12: Exact cause of the crash has not yet officially been confirmed. Investigation underway.

Update 21:57: Defence Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert on Twitter: “They worked for a free world and for that they paid the highest price. Great respect. Our thoughts go out to their loved ones.”

Dutch viper fleet feels the strain; orange lion team takes a sabbatical year.

In an announcement on their Facebook page yesterday the Royal Netherlands Air Force F-16 display team cancelled their 2015 airshow season. Citing operational demands the much-loved team won’t be flying their single ship display until at least 2016.

RNLAF Single Ship demo aircraft taxiing out for a display. The bright orange jet has since been repainted into a normal tactical paintscheme.

RNLAF Single Ship demo aircraft taxiing out for a display. The bright orange jet has since been repainted into a normal tactical paintscheme.

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War is Boring: Dutch Gunships Battle Mali Rebels

Last Saturday on January 24, an article by our Lieuwe de Vries was published on the popular long-form defense newssite War is Boring. Read an excerpt below:

“Dutch attack helicopters operating in Mali flew into action for the first time on Jan. 20. The result was a lopsided victory for the Dutch, who are taking part in the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the country.

The battle occurred as separatist rebels from the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad—or MNLA for short—advanced on the northern town of Tabankort. The rebels used heavy weapons to fire on U.N. peacekeepers in the town.

The U.N. troops called in an Apache attack helicopter to provide fire support.”

Continue reading on War is Boring (opens new page) —>

Amerikaans Stealth Icoon terug uit pensioen?

Lange tijd was de F-117 Night Hawk het toestel dat Amerikaanse luchtaanvallen leidde. Als een van de eerste praktische toestellen die “onzichtbaar” was voor radar vloog het als eerste vijandelijk luchtruim in. Het was het eerste zogenaamde “Stealth” toestel dat bekend werd bij het grote publiek en als zodanig ook een van de eerste dat buiten dienst werd gesteld.

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Italians cut F-35 order in half

Last week, the Italian lower house approved a motion to cut the acquisition budget for the F-35 in half. Rome decided to buy 131 jets in 2002 but lowered this amount in 2012 to 90. Now, it looks like the Italians are going to fly about 45 F-35s and effectively buying a third of the original amount and degrading from a “flagship partner” to “best of the rest” with an order that barely exceeds that of countries like the Netherlands.

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