A look at the Defence news 24 – 30 October

“Dutch military personnel will arrive in Lithuania from March 2017,” confirmed Minister Hennis-Plasschaert during the Meetings of NATO Ministers of Defence in Brussels. The Netherlands will provide a company (including support) to assist a German-led battlegroup stationed in Lithuania.

The Dutch deployment in the Baltic States will not be limited to ground personnel. From 1 January 2017, 4 Royal Netherlands Air Force F-16s will be on duty to protect Baltic airspace, as they previously did in 2014. Hennis-Plasschaert would like to see a greater effort in the area, calling for more NATO visibility not only in the Baltic states and Poland but also along the whole eastern flank of NATO territory.

Navy frigate HNLMS De Ruyter rescues drowning men

The crew of HNLMS De Ruyter has rescued 2 men who were in difficulties in the sea. The men were attempting to swim from the Turkish coast to the Greek island of Chios. Navy personnel spotted the men trying to negotiate high waves and took immediate action. The ship’s RHIB boat was launched and the swimmers were hauled out of the water. The men were then treated by medical personnel and were  later handed over to the Turkish coastguard.

Minister speaks on progress made against ISIL

According to several commanders, the military campaign against ISIL is going to plan and, with the launch of the operation to liberate Mosul, the terrorist group seems to be losing ground. Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert pointed out, however, that a sense of realism should be maintained. During the counter-ISIL coalition meeting in Paris, she called for tight coordination of military and civil efforts, referring to both a timely response to the huge flow of refugees and to how the situation should be approached following the defeat of ISIL.

AWACS air force personnel support counter-ISIL coalition

Dutch air force personnel are back in the air in the Middle East. This time they will not be bombing ISIL targets, but will be lending support to the coalition in its fight against the terrorist organisation by deploying  an Airborne Warning And Control System (AWACS) aircraft from Forward Operating Base Konya in Turkey. The AWACS will provide the counter-ISIL coalition with an air picture. The aircraft will also supply information for air traffic control in order to ensure airspace safety.

Military emergency relief in Haiti ends

Water, hygiene boxes, building materials, rice, blankets and tent tarpaulins. During the past two and a half weeks, the Royal Netherlands Navy vessels HNLMS Holland and HNLMS Pelikaan put 450 tonnes of emergency goods on shore in Haiti. Dutch military emergency relief, started after the devastating impact of Hurricane Matthew, has now come to an end. The ocean-going patrol vessel HNLMS Holland and support ship HNLMS Pelikaan transported the relief goods to areas that were inaccessible by land, in particular the west coast of the island where Matthew caused the most damage.