A look at the Defence news 1 – 7 May

F-16s back after 10 interceptions

In a period of 4 months, Dutch F-16s intercepted 10 Russian aircraft in airspace controlled by the Baltic states. Four fighter aircraft supported by an 80-strong detachment guarded the airspace of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania as part of the Baltic Air Policing mission.

Dutch F16 above Lithuania.
Dutch F16 above Lithuania.

NATO partners are guarding the airspace of the Baltic states on a rotational basis. Poland officially took over the task on 2 May.

Zr.Ms. Schiedam.
HNLMS Schiedam.

HNLMS Schiedam home after detecting 22 mines

On 3 May, HNLMS Schiedam returned to its home base of Den Helder after detecting 22 mines and 3 practice mines. The minehunter spent the last 3 months keeping the coasts of France, Scotland and Norway free of explosive devices. Of the 22 mines detected, 1 was cleared. The other devices were marked and will be destroyed at a later date. Keeping shipping routes free of mines is a main task of Standing NATO Mine Counter Measures Group 1 (SNMCMG1), of which the Royal Netherlands Navy vessel was a part.

Leden van de EOD bergen de granaten.
Members of the Netherlands Explosive Ordnance Disposal Service at work.

Explosive devices removed in Mali

On 3 May, members of the Netherlands Explosive Ordnance Disposal Service (EOD) removed a substantial quantity of explosive devices in Gao, Mali. At the outskirts of the city, they discovered 80 French hand and rifle grenades of First World War vintage.

Mission area ceremonie in Mali.
Mission area ceremonie in Mali.

Commemoration ceremonies in the Netherlands and mission areas

In keeping with tradition, the armed forces were involved in the national Remembrance Day ceremony that was held at Dam Square in Amsterdam on 4 May. Chief of Defence General Tom Middendorp and his operational commanders laid a wreath in memory of those who have lost their lives in combat and peacekeeping missions since the Second World War. Commemoration ceremonies attended by active-duty military personnel and reservists were also held at many other locations in the Netherlands and overseas territories. Together with their coalition partners, Dutch military personnel in mission areas observed a minute of silence in honour of the fallen. Mission area ceremonies were held in Mali, Iraq, Afghanistan and Lithuania.

Bevrijdingsdefilé Wageningen 2017
The annual Liberation Day event in Wageningen.

Middendorp: hatred and war remain

“The fact that we are now free and celebrating our freedom does not mean that atrocities are a thing of the past. Hatred still exists and wars are still being fought.” Chief of Defence General Tom Middendorp spoke these words on 5 May during the annual Liberation Day event in Wageningen. Middendorp praised veterans, heroes of the resistance movement, serving military personnel and “all those who, over the years, have made their voices heard, helped others, remained vigilant, worked unflinchingly to uncover the truth, given love or bridged differences.”