A look at the Defence news 23 May – 28 May

From November of this year, Defence will receive a total of 1266 new handheld thermal imaging systems to determine the positions of targets at a distance of at least 1 kilometre. The Thermal Handheld Imaging System (THIS) will be purchased for use in the navy, the army, the air force and the marechaussee. The equipment will be supplied by SAFRAN Vectronix. The agreement also includes repairs, user training programmes and maintenance for a 10-year period. The THIS replaces the LION that has been used by the Defence organisation since the mid-1990s. 

Since 24 May, the Marine Corps has been driving in fully modernised Bandvagn 206s. The tracked vehicles were made in the early 1990s and were thoroughly serviced, so they are safe to use until at least the end of 2025. The Marine Corps will use the non-armoured all-terrain vehicles for the transport of people and materiel. The polyester structure has been checked, cleaned and wherever required repaired and adjusted. Even more important are the new engine, gear box and rubber caterpillar tracks with customised tensioning system. The vehicle can now be operated together with its armoured little brother, ‘Viking’.

Fallen nobleman reburied with military honour

On 23 May, military personnel from ‘Johan Willem Friso’ 44 Armoured Infantry Battalion accompanied the remains of ‘their’ colonel Schelte van Aysma to his final resting place, the restored family tomb in the church of Schettens near Bolsward, in the province of Friesland. The serviceman was killed in 1637 during the Siege of Breda. The oldest regiment in the Royal Netherlands Army, the Johan Willem Friso Regiment was established in 1577. The reason for the reburial was the discovery of Van Aysma’s helmet in 2015 by curator Jeroen Punt of the National Military Museum (NMM). The helmet had been in the village church for centuries. A local amateur historian started looking for Van Aysma’s grave after the discovery in Schettens was made public. He discovered the serviceman’s tombstone under the church floor.