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A look at the Defence news 30 January – 5 February (video)

Russia’s current attitude, terrorism, large migration flows, the impending scarcity of natural resources. These are all security issues NATO and EU Member States face, both now and in the future, stressed General Tom Middendorp during a recent press briefing. “We are facing the biggest security challenge since the Cold War.” A look at the Defence news 30 January – 5 February.

Netherlands military personnel in action during the Bison Drawsko field training exercise.

Netherlands military personnel in action during the Bison Drawsko field training exercise.

At the Ministry, Netherlands Chief of Defence General Middendorp updated journalists on the deployment of Dutch military personnel in several regions, ranging from Mali to the Horn of Africa and from the Mediterranean to Eastern Europe. “The world is getting much smaller and also more integrated. Borders are blurring. An increasing sense of risks and insecurity can be felt, also in the Netherlands”, he explained.

Video: Bison Drawsko: Leopard tanks head back into battle

During the field training exercise Bison Drawsko in Poland, the Leopard 2A6-battle tank made its return into battle, this while the previous disbandment of the final 2 tank battalions in 2011 seemed to have marked the definitive end of the 60-tonne armoured tank. However, with 13 tanks now in action, the German/Netherlands 414 Armoured Battalion makes for a worthy return of this indispensable weapon system. During the large exercise manoeuvres at brigade level at the Drawsko Pomorski training area, the Leopards operated together with the high tech CV90-tracked vehicle for the first time.

Last Dutch Apaches back from Mali

After 2.5 years in Mali, the final 2 of in total 4 Apache attack helicopters returned on Dutch soil. A C-17 transport aircraft flew the helicopters from the African country to Gilze-Rijen Air Base. The first 2 German NH90 transport helicopters have now arrived in the Malian town of Gao.  They will replace the Chinook helicopters, that will be returning to the Netherlands shortly. 

Training in cold Northern Iraq strengthens anti-ISIS coalition

Rifles from the air mobile brigade, marines, engineers, medics and signal personnel of the 7th rotation of the Capacity Building Mission Iraq in Northern Iraq provided their first training to the Peshmerga; a rewarding task with a group of students eager to learn new things. The Kurdish battle experience in combination with the military skills of the western trainers make an important contribution to the fight against ISIS.

Minister’s visit to Norway leads to more cooperation

The Netherlands and Norway will continue to combine their military forces. The Netherlands Minister of Defence, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert and her Norwegian counterpart Ine Eriksen Soreide confirmed this during Minister Hennis’s visit to Norway. Both ministers paid a visit to Norway’s upper northern regions, where Dutch marines are undergoing arctic training. The talks between the two ministers were mainly devoted to the developments at the northern flanks of the NATO treaty area.

Anti-ISIS coalition drains air force tanker till its last drop

A Royal Netherlands Air Force KDC-10 tanker aircraft flew its first mission in the Middle East this week.  For 5.5 hours, the tanker refuelled aircraft of coalition partners that are fighting ISIS above Iraq and Eastern Syria. By refuelling in the air, coalition fighter aircraft are able to fight longer and more effectively against ISIS.