Tag Archives: Royal Netherlands Navy

Deck landings: getting your adrenaline up

Ok, so maybe today doesn’t offer the most challenging weather for deck landings in an NH90 helicopter. But when you’re in that same NH90 and you’re facing a wind and rain swept deck in high seas, it will get you adrenaline running and you’ll be thankful for every last bit of training you’ve had. And so, the Defense Helicopter Command (DHC) of the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) regularly heads out to sea for deck landings aboard Dutch navy vessels. Even on a perfectly calm day such as this one.

Related reading: Dutch NH90 – ready to run. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

Location: the North Sea, aboard the Royal Netherlands Navy’s 108 meter long Ocean-going Patrol Vessel (OPV) Zr. Ms. Groningen. Job at hand: landing an eleven tonnes NH90 helicopter on the 16 by 30 meter landing deck over the stern of the ship. Inbound for doing exactly that is Neptune 11, an NH90  from De Kooy Air Station near Den Helder, which is also the Royal Netherlands Navy’s home port.

Approach

As Neptune 11 approaches the ship, it becomes clear that these deck landings provide training to more than just the helicopter crew. It’s the flight deck crew who also are being put to work to gain experience in getting the helicopter down on the deck safely, which never is a routine task given ever changing winds and waves.

Suddenly, things are not so calm anymore. The flight deck becomes a flurry of noise, wind and rotor blades going around a high speed. The one braving the elements in particular is the flight deck officer, who has to withstand the gale-force downwash from the NH90’s main rotor. Using forceful hand signals and clear commands over the radio, the flight deck officer direct Neptune towards the desired landing spot.

(Image © Vincent Kok)
(Image © Elmer van Hest)
(Image © Vincent Kok)

Landing

Taking the flight deck officer’s directions and using other visual clues, the NH90 pilot seemingly without too much effort lands his helicopter aboard Zr. Ms Groningen and is immediately secured in place with chains. The NH90 is a hugely automated helo, but a landing like this mostly depends on pilot skills and smooth interaction between the helo’s crew and the folks on the flight deck.

(Image © Vincent Kok)
(Image © Elmer van Hest)

Take off

The helo is not here to stay, however. Shortly after landing and after another bit of hand signalling, the NH90 takes off while creating more hurricane-force winds for the deck crew to battle with. Throughout the rest of the day, this scene will be repeated many times as the cycle of approaching, landing and taking off continues.

(Image © Elmer van Hest)
(Image © Elmer van Hest)
(Image © Elmer van Hest)

Anti-submarine

The NH90 has been in Dutch service for seven years now, first in what was called a Meaningful Operational Capability since upon delivery not all helicopter were fully equipped for all task. In their Final Radar Configuration, the helicopters are also capable of anti-submarine warfare (ASW). The first ASW-qualified Dutch crew recently took part in large scale exercise Joint Warrior. in which the crew successfully managed to find and track a Norwegian submarine.

And yes, during an exercise in the waters around Scotland, you are certainly glad that you’ve working on deck landings, adds NH90 pilot Tim. “As soon as you see the deck rolling, and you see the waves and the wind, that will certainly get your adrenaline up. You’ll be glad to know that you are properly trained and perfectly capable of landing that eleven tonnes helicopter on that ship.”

© 2017 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Video filming & editing by Vincent Kok – www.imagingthelight.com

(Image © Vincent Kok)
(Image © Elmer van Hest)
(Image © Vincent Kok)

 

Netherlands upgrades NH90 helicopters

The Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) is upgrading its new NH90 helicopters, while the type is still in its delivery phase.

Danish Terma has struck a deal with the RNLAF to integrate the company’s Modular Aircraft Survivability (MASE) Pod onto the NH90, which are operated as shipborne helicopters on the Royal Netherlands Navy frigates, amphibian command ships and supply vessels.

The MASE Pod holds Electronic Warfare Management System, ALQ-213 in the latest version, Missile Warning sensors, and Chaff/Flare Dispenser modules. The modular design allows for future integration of coming sensors and new requirements. Terma has collaborated with the RNLAF and The Netherlands’ Defence Materiel Organization for more than 20 years, integrating the EW suite on many RNLAF aircraft.

Terma develpoed the MASE pod originally for installation on the AH-64D Apache in 2003. Since then, the modularity of the pod has enabled tailoring for other helicopter platforms including the EH-101, Mi-17, Mi-24, AS550 Fennec, CH-47F Chinook (MASE in CHASE version), AS532 U2 Cougar Mk2, on F-16 fighters and C-130H transport aircraft.

The Netherlands ordered 20 NH90s, with the country resuming acceptance of the European-manufactured chopper in December after many problems were found. One of the RNLAF NH90s currently serves on board the Dutch Navy’s Landing Platform Dock Johan de Witt, on its way to fight pirates, together with two Swedish HKP 15 choppers.

Source: Terma / the Netherlands Ministry of Defence
Featured image: A RNLAF NH90 in flight (Image © Koninklijke Marine)

Related: ↑ Special: New Zealand – a NH90 success story
AND AHF↑Inside: exclusive visit to Belgian NH90s

First week at sea for Swedish-Dutch naval force Atalanta

The Swedish-Dutch naval force on its way to protect civilian shipping and fight pirates in the Gulf of Aden – near Somalia – as part of the European Union operation Atalanta has had its first week at sea.

On Saturday 24 January 2015 the Royal Netherlands Navy Landing Platform Dock (LPD) L801 HNLMS Johan de Witt left the quay of Dutch Naval Base Den Helder. On board the command element of the next rotation of operation Atalanta: about 40 Swedish military personnel including the Swedish Force Commander Admiral Jonas Haggren, the Force Headquarters (FHQ) staff, two fast combat boats (CB90s) and two Swedish Armed Forces HKP 15s (Agusta 109) with crew and ground personnel.

Related news: ↑ Two dozen new Swedish combat pilots

NH90
The Royal Netherlands Navy adds a NHIndustries NH90 – flown in cooperation with the Royal Netherlands Air Force – and about 360 personnel to man and operate the ship, a landing vessel (LCU), four fast FRISC RIBs, the Marine Corps boarding teams and the on-board hospital.

Swedish choppers
During the first week at sea, the combined Swedish-Dutch naval force trained on procedures and joint operability. Ship, crew and helicopters are expected to be operational in the mission area on 6 February. The joint unit is expected back in Den Helder in May 2015. When the Swedish choppers are home again, they will first go to the vet.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image (above): The two Swedish Armed Forces HKP 15s on the flight deck of the Johan de Witt, moared in Den Helder harbour before departure (Image © Mats Nyström/ Combat Camera / Försvarsmakten)

One of the two HKP 15s the Swedes contribute to EUNAVFOR ME04 coming in to land on Royal Netherlands Navy Landing Platform Dock Johan de Witt. Notice submarine support vessel A900 Mercuur (Image © Mats Nyström/ Combat Camera / Försvarsmakten)
One of the two HKP 15s the Swedes contribute to EUNAVFOR ME04 coming in to land on Royal Netherlands Navy Landing Platform Dock Johan de Witt. Notice submarine support vessel A900 Mercuur (Image © Mats Nyström/ Combat Camera / Försvarsmakten)
The combined Swedish-Dutch naval force to EUNAVFOR ME04 also includes a Royal Netherlands Air Force NH90. Seen here on board the Royal Netherlands Navy frigate Evertsen during a port call to Stockholm on 11 October 2014 (Image © Marcel Burger)
The combined Swedish-Dutch naval force to EUNAVFOR ME04 also includes a Royal Netherlands Air Force NH90. Seen here on board the Royal Netherlands Navy frigate Evertsen during a port call to Stockholm on 11 October 2014 (Image © Marcel Burger)
The two Swedish Armed Forces HKP 15s on the flight deck of the Johan de Witt (Image © Mats Nyström/ Combat Camera / Försvarsmakten)
The two Swedish Armed Forces HKP 15s on the flight deck of the Johan de Witt (Image © Mats Nyström/ Combat Camera / Försvarsmakten)

USMC Hueys deploy on Dutch amphibian Rotterdam

One of the USMC Hueys on board of Dutch amphibian vessel Rotterdam, August 30, 2013 (Image © Ministerie van Defensie)
One of the USMC UH-1Ns of HMLA-733 on board of Dutch amphibian vessel Rotterdam, August 29, 2013 (Image © Ministerie van Defensie)

Two US Marine Corps UH-1N ‘Hueys’ of HMLA-733 deployed to the Dutch amphibian command vessel Zr. Ms. Rotterdam on Thursday August 29, 2013, for a 2.5 month long exercise off the coast of western Africa, the Dutch ministry of Defence writes in a press release.

Apart from the helicopters US and Spanish marines embarked onto the Rotterdam just off the Spanish coast. Together with British and Dutch colleagues they will train military personnel from African nations. This exercise African Winds is an initiative of the US Africa Command. The Rotterdam serves as flagship and local operational headquarters of the training force.

The first marine units already started their training to personnel in Morocco and Senegal. Ghana follows next week. The training includes jungle ops, amphibian ops and boarding operations – how to tactically insert teams onto ships. As soon as the Dutch amphibian command vessel is present, marines from the joining four NATO countries and their African counterparts will train together with naval personnel. The USMC Hueys provide support and a training platform during the exercise.

Source: NL Ministerie van Defensie

Check out the Royal Netherlands Air Force & Navy Orbat at Scramble.nl

First navy NH90 for Belgium

First flight of the Belgian Air Component NH90 NFH maritime helicopter on August 5, 2013. (Image © NHI)
First flight of the Belgian Air Component NH90 NFH maritime helicopter on August 5, 2013. (Image © NHI)

The first Belgian maritime NH Industries NH90 performed its first 45 minutes of flight at the Eurocopter facility Donauwörth in Germany on August 5, 2013.

,,The crew successfully tested the basic systems of this new generation aircraft”, writes a press spokesperson of NH Industries. ,,During the next weeks, this first Belgian NH90 NFH will perform several other test flights in order to check the aircraft behaviour and its mission system with industry and customer crews.”

The Belgian armed forces ordered eight NH90s, four TTHs for tactical transport operations and four NFHs for naval operations. The first Belgian army version of the NH90 flew already on September 19th, 2012. The Belgian NH90 navy variant is delivered in its full operational capability standard, already known as the Step B. This aircraft is very close to the Dutch NH90 NFH Step B currently operationally deployed with the Royal Netherlands Navy.

The NH90 NFH is a helicopter of 11 ton class primarily configured to perform naval operations such as search-and-rescue at sea, anti-piracy missions and transport. The chopper features a full glass cockpit with multifunction displays, fly-by-wire controls with 4-axis automatic flight control system. The dedicated mission system includes an electro optic sensor, tactical control and tactical communication system, a multimode radar and an on-board monitoring and diagnostic system. Two Rolls-Royce/Turbomeca RTM322 engines provide power.

NH Industries is a consortium of AgustaWestland (32%), Eurocopter (62.5%), and Stork Fokker (5.5%). So far 153 NH90s have been delivered with firm orders of 529 aircraft for 14 nations: France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Greece, Oman, Australia, New-Zealand, Spain and Belgium.

Source: NH Industries

Check out the Belgian Air Component Orbat at Scramble.nl