A look at the Defence news 6 – 12 March

Last week, Belgian F-16s responsible for the surveillance of the airspace of Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg intercepted a Hungarian aircraft. This was a first for Quick Reaction Alert Benelux, in which Belgian and Dutch F-16s have been guarding Benelux airspace since 1 January 2017. A look at the Defence news 6 – 12 March.

Belgian F-16s.
Belgian F-16s (December 2016).

The Hungarian aircraft, that had 3 persons on board, was bound for the United Kingdom.  Communication with the aircraft had been lost. The aircraft was crossing the south-west tip of Dutch airspace. British fighter aircraft took over escort duties of the Hungarian aircraft until it landed at Birmingham airport in the UK.

Royal Netherlands Air Force takes part in ‘Red Flag’

For a period of two weeks, Dutch F-16s took part in Exercise Red Flag, which was held at Nellis Air Force Base north of Las Vegas. This exercise is known as the best in the world for military pilots. During the exercise, they were exposed to scenarios that were very similar to real wartime situations. Eight F-16s made sorties twice a day, together with 65 other aircraft. The realistic war scenarios were set up in order to train pilots in how to survive the first days of a real air war.  

European ministers: tighter planning and direction of military training missions

The respective European ministers of Defence and Foreign Affairs announced the establishment of a military planning and coordination capability during the latest Foreign Affairs Council meeting in Brussels. It was the Council’s first meeting since the inauguration of President Trump, who has called on Europe to take more responsibility for its own security.

Reservists work on keeping feet dry and on peace in Kosovo

Last week, Dutch reservists were deployed to deal with the problems with drainage and flooding currently occurring in Kosovo. During their efforts, they managed to organise meetings between representatives of a number of Albanian and Serbian municipalities. Every spring, rain and meltwater cause flooding at and around Pristina Airport. This is a problem for civil aviation, as well as for the military section of the airport, which is essential for the transport of troops and supplies to the Kosovo Force (KFOR). KFOR, a NATO mission, ensures security and freedom of movement in Kosovo, and also serves to prevent Serbs and Albanians from attacking each other.