Gilze-Rijen Air Base

Gilze-Rijen Air Base is the helicopter base of the Royal Netherlands Air Force. The helicopters are part of Defence Helicopter Command. They are deployed in support of the airmobile brigade, special forces units and Royal Netherlands Navy ships in particular. They also take part in NATO and UN operations and can also be used as firefighting helicopters. Gilze-Rijen Air Base has a research centre for teaching military personnel survival techniques in the event of their aircraft ditching in the sea or crashing. 


The helicopters of Defence Helicopter Command transport personnel and equipment. They also carry out reconnaissance and ensure security from the air. The transport helicopters also assist in fighting major fires. The Apache helicopters assist the Ministry of Justice and Security, for example in tracking down criminals or escapees.

Defence Helicopter Command

Not all Defence Helicopter Command helicopters are based at Gilze-Rijen Air Base. The maritime transport helicopters operate from De Kooy Naval Air Station in Den Helder. Defence Helicopter Command helicopters regularly come to the Deelen Air Base  for training. In the United States, Dutch Chinook transport helicopters and Dutch Apache attack helicopters are available for training and instruction purposes.