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.”

ItAF 37° Stormo Starfighter

We’re back from a short vacation! This weeks update is an Italian F-104S from the 37° Stormo. If you’re a regular at this site you’ll know we love Starfighters. And we love the Italians because they had these beauties in active service up until 2004. Thanks gents!

F-104S M.M.6909

F-104S_37-23_tn

Click for larger image and more info

In The Netherlands, Australia’s Blackhawk replacement is corroding at the seats

On 7 July we reported on Dutch Defense Ministers Hennis-Plasschaerts decision to freeze the acquisition of the European made NH-90. The DM made her decision after the Dutch Aerospace Laboratory released a report on design and manufacturing errors causing heavy wear and corrosion on the Dutch NH-90s. It’s not the first time the NATO Helicopter has suffered from these kinds of problems as the Australians have had similar experiences.

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NH90_rescue_small

Dutch society of naval officers urges NH90 stop-gap

The Dutch Royal Society of Naval Officers has urged the Minister of Defence that a interim solution for the stalled Netherlands Navy NH90 project be sought. The society is currently studying a possible sale or lease of the US built Seahawk which is also coming into service in Denmark.

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De Koninklijke Vereniging van Marine Officieren heeft het belang van een geschikte helikopter capaciteit voor de Koninklijke Marine benadrukt, de Vereniging onderzoekt zelf mogelijke tussen oplossingen voor het vastgelopen NH90 project. Een van de toestellen waar naar wordt gekeken is de Amerikaanse Seahawk helikopter, deze wordt op het moment in dienst genomen bij Denemarken in dezelfde rol waar Nederland de NH90 voor hoopt te gebruiken.

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RNLAF NH-90

Air Force Iran active in Iraq

Although the United States and Iran usually are sworn enemies, it’s possible both of their air forces will meet above Iraq and work together in battling ISIS rebels who control large pieces of the region. Asserting from pictures and videos taken by local media and the Iraqi Ministry of Defense it appears that the “Pasadaran”, a nickname for the Army of the Protectors of the Islamic Revolution, has delivered seven of it’s Sukhoi 25 “Frogfoot” combat planes to Imam Ali air base near Nasiriyah. At Imam Ali AB are also four other Su-25s stationed which where recently purchased from the Russians. Four Iraqi and Ten Iranian pilots will fly the airplanes. Although Iran hasn’t officially confirmed the presence of it’s Frogfoots in Iraq, they can be recognized as Iranian by the color scheme and serial numbers used by it’s air force.

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Uit foto’s en video’s die door lokale media en door het Iraakse ministerie van defensie geopenbaard zijn blijkt dat waarschijnlijk per 1 juli de “Pasadaran”, een bijnaam voor het Leger van de Bewakers van de Islamitische Revolutie, zeven van hun Sukhoi 25 “Frogfoot” gevechtsvliegtuigen over gebracht heeft naar de Imam Ali vliegbasis nabij Nasiriyah. Daar zijn ook een viertal toestellen van hetzelfde type gestationeerd die de Irakezen recentelijk van Rusland hebben gekocht. De toestellen zouden worden gevlogen door vier piloten uit Irak en tien piloten uit Iran. Iran heeft nog niet officieel de aanwezigheid van de toestellen erkend echter de toestellen dragen een kleurenschema dat identiek is aan dat van de luchtmacht van Iran en voeren ook herkenningsnummers die identiek zijn aan die zoals gevoerd door de Iraanse luchtmacht.

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Europe shopping abroad for its drone needs

Even if you’re not following the aviation news, it’s hard not to know that ‘drone’ is the buzzword nowadays. It’s not a secret the United States is a big proponent of the unmanned aerial vehicles, letting the drones perform countless surveillance and tactical missions in the Middle East. On the other side, China is also putting some serious effort in developing their own drones, even if they are mostly clones of their American counterparts. But what about Europe, the Old Country? How are they currently faring in the drone arms race?

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Dutch helicopter woes spark for closer cooperation

In a agreement signed today The Netherlands’ Air Mobile Brigade will become a part of the German Army “Division Schnelle Kräfte”. The resulting unit will be commanded by a German Army general who’s second in command will be Dutch, the Dutch component will continue to be based at it’s current base in The Netherlands. It is hoped that this far reaching cooperation will lead to economy-of-scale benefits and will increased capacity through the sharing of scarce and expensive resources. The force created would be some 11.000 strong with The Netherlands contributing about 2000 troops.

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