A look at the Defence news 11 – 18 September

During the coming weeks, 11 navy units from various NATO partners will be clearing sea lanes and parts of the North Sea seabed of old First and Second World War explosives off the coast of Belgium. The operation will take place under the name of Sandy Coast 2018. The Netherlands has provided the minehunters HNLMS Makkum, HNLMS Vlaardingen and HNLMS Urk and a team for operating unmanned sonar systems. Belgium will provide three of such teams and a diving team. The exercise will last until 28 September.

Royal Netherlands Air Force re-establishes 306 Squadron

The former 306 photographic reconnaissance squadron has been re-established at Leeuwarden Air Base in anticipation of the arrival of the unmanned MQ-9 Reaper reconnaissance aircraft. Last Friday, 14 September, it was exactly 65 years ago that the squadron was originally established in 1953 as a photographic reconnaissance unit. In the 1990s, it was deployed during the war in the former Yugoslavia. The unit later became responsible for pilot training. The squadron was deactivated in 2010. The re-established squadron now has image analysts and intelligence specialists among its personnel who have been supplying processing, exploitation and dissemination (PED) capability to the Defence organisation since December 2016, analyzing images taken by reconnaissance aircraft in the Middle East. 306 Squadron will be equipped with 4 MQ-9 Reapers. The unmanned aircraft are expected to enter service in mid-2020.

3 new underwater drones for Mine Countermeasures Service

Since 12 September, the Mine Countermeasures Service of the Royal Netherlands Navy has had 3 Remus 100 Next Generation systems at its disposal. These are underwater drones equipped with side-scan sonar and a camera. With this equipment, Remus operators are able to scan parts of the seabed and examine objects, including mines, explosives and other objects, as well as missing persons. This brand new underwater drone is capable of carrying out programmed missions independently and cooperating with other Remus drones as a team. The drone also makes the entry of minehunters into mined areas no longer necessary.