- Netherlands Maritime Force
The maritime helicopters track fleet movements, search for enemy units and carry out coastguard operations. In 2008, the Navy helicopters became part of the Defence Helicopter Command. At present, the Navy has a total of 21 Westland Lynx helicopters at its disposal.
The helicopters are capable of operating from land as well as from ships. Their home base is De Kooy naval air station near the town of Den Helder. The ship-borne helicopters are equipped for anti-submarine warfare. The land-based helicopters carry out transport and search-and-rescue operations. During boarding operations, the helicopters swiftly lower a team of specialists onto the suspect ship in order to search it.
The helicopters monitor the vicinity of the ships they escort and the frigates on which they are stationed. This increases the area in which the ships are able to detect submarines. The helicopters use dipping sonar, i.e. a sonar that is lowered into the water, for detecting submarines. They are armed with homing torpedoes.
There is a Squadron 7 helicopter on call 24 hours a day and 365 days a year to serve as a Search-and-Rescue unit for the North Sea. This means that it is deployed for search and rescue operations and medical evacuations at sea. The Coastguard Centre in Den Helder coordinates the rescue operations of the various government services. It is manned by personnel from the participating services.