A look at the Defence news 10 - 16 June

After a 3 year absence, the Royal Netherlands Air Force Days are back. Dutch air power presented itself to the general public at Volkel Air Base under the theme ‘Wij zijn de luchtmacht’ [We are the Air Force]. A quarter of a million spectators visited the Open Days, where there was much to see and admire, not only in the air but also on the ground. The sudden appearance on the scene of the F-35 typifies the rapid progress that has been made during the past few years.

Enlarge image Spitfire, F-16 en F-35 flying together in the air.
A Spitfire, F-16 en F-35 symbolising the 1st tilll the 5th generation fighter planes at the Airm Force Open Days.

The crowd was given a real treat when the Air Power demonstration showed off all the capabilities of the Royal Netherlands Air Force. Following an overwhelming display of air power, the closing flypast brought an air of calm back to the proceedings. After 10 F-16s and an F-35 that had recently arrived from the US had flown past, the current and future fighter aircraft joined up with a Spitfire, forming a tribute to the past, present and future of fighter aircraft.

First female navy flag officer

For the first time, the Royal Netherlands Navy has promoted a female member of personnel to the rank of commodore. Jeanette Morang, who in 1997 also became the first female commander of a Royal Netherlands Navy ship, is the servicewoman in question. The promotion is an important milestone in the 75-year history of women in the armed forces. Women were first admitted to the Netherlands armed forces in 1944, initially in all-female units. In 1981, the armed forces abolished such units and the path was clear for full integration. In 1983, Morang was in the first batch of female midshipmen at the Royal Naval College.

Defence signs contract for small-calibre weapons

Over the coming 15 years, the manufacturer Fabrique National (FN-Herstal) in Herstal, Belgium, is responsible for the supply of weapons, spare parts and equipment to the Netherlands armed forces.

The Defence Materiel Organisation signed a framework contract with FN-Herstal for the supply of M2 QCB 12.7mm, MAG 7.62mm (in various configurations) and FN Minimi 5.56mm machine guns. To date, these weapons and spare parts had been ordered from FN-Herstal on an ad-hoc basis. The new agreement provides the Defence organisation with more certainty with regard to the delivery times of the aforementioned weapons and spare parts.