A look at the Defence news 10 – 17 April

On 13 April, the last of the 3 Royal Netherlands Air Force Chinook transport helicopters returned to the Netherlands from Mali. It was transported in a C-17 Globemaster. All other equipment and personnel from the helicopter detachment were returned in early March. Now, after 2.5 years of continuous deployment for the UN MINUSMA mission, the last helicopter has also returned home.

Chinook transport helicopters were transported in a C-17 Globemaster.
Chinook transport helicopters were transported in a C-17 Globemaster.

Army commander conference to promote cooperation

On 13 April, Netherlands Chief of Defence General Tom Middendorp reflected on his close cooperation with 9 different countries as commanding officer of Task Force Uruzgan. During his time there, they were using several different communication systems that were not easily compatible. He described how he would sit on his office chair and wheel past 5 different computer screens, each showing a different part of the operational plan.

Middendorp was speaking at the invitation-only three-day Finabel conference in Soest, the Netherlands, to an audience of 22 European army commanders and deputy commanders. The Finabel Coordination Committee promotes interoperability between European land forces. Interoperability was the theme of the conference.

Lieutenant General Leo Beulen, Commander of the Royal Netherlands Army, was the host. He commented on the participants’ increasing recognition of the need and urgency for European cooperation and maximum interoperability.