A look at the Defence news 20 – 26 March

The main body of Dutch troops deployed as part of NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) in Lithuania left the Netherlands last week. Over 100 military personnel boarded a flight at Eindhoven Air Base. A look at the Defence news 20 – 26 March.

Dutch troops departing for Lithuania.

Dutch troops departing for Lithuania.

The Dutch unit forms part of the enhanced military presence in Lithuania in 2017. By deploying these troops, NATO is emphasising solidarity with the Baltic states and Poland. The Netherlands is contributing a total of 270 troops.

An 80-strong Dutch detachment has been guarding Baltic airspace with four F-16s since January. These aircraft are also stationed in Lithuania. The detachment has been deployed for over two months and the Dutch contribution to this Baltic Air Policing mission is therefore at the halfway point of its scheduled term. 

KFOR mission ends for the Netherlands after almost 18 years

Last week, the Dutch contribution to the Kosovo Force (KFOR) came to an end after almost 18 years. While only four Dutch soldiers were left to turn out the lights, the start of participation in KFOR at the end of June 1999 was very different. At the time, over 2,000 heavily armed Dutch troops were deployed.  Another mission in the Balkans, EUFOR Althea in Bosnia and Herzegovina, ended on 28 February 2017.

The Netherlands will continue to contribute to security and law and order in the Western Balkans, however. Efforts in this regard will be made through diplomatic channels, a social transition programme and a contribution to EULEX Kosovo, a civilian mission.

Evertsen passes with flying colours

The air defence and command frigate HNLMS Evertsen has been declared operational by the UK’s Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST) organisation. The outcome of the final assessment was exceptionally positive. A very realistic war scenario was completed during the final phase of the FOST programme. The FOST programme is one of the world’s most intensive and challenging training programmes for naval vessels and their crews.

HNLMS Evertsen will join Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 (SNMG1) later this year.