The Dutch special forces will continue to trust aircraft from Airbus Helicopters it seems. Indeed, the Dutch defense secretary, Christophe van der Maat, announced, in an interview given to the news site De Telegraaf, that the Netherlands was to acquire a fleet of 14 Airbus H225M Caracal utility helicopters to the European helicopter manufacturer, to replace the 12 AS532 Cougars in service with the Royal Netherlands Air Force for transport and combat search and rescue missions.
The amount of the contract announced by the minister is not yet clearly defined, estimated between 1 and 2,5 billion euros. On the other hand, we know more about the selection process applied by The Hague.
According to Mr. van der Maat, several aircraft were evaluated, and only the French Caracal and the American Black Hawk actually met the expectations of the Dutch special forces. The size of the cabin and the equipment finally led to the choice of the European aircraft.
Entering service in 2005, the Caracal, the ultimate evolution of the Super Puma family, is in service with a dozen armed forces, including France, which uses 18 aircraft, including 7 for combat rescue missions in within the EH/67 Pyrenees squadron of the Air and Space Force, and eight within the 4th Special Forces combat helicopter regiment.
The device, almost 20 meters long, is supported by a 16,2 m rotor powered by 2 Makila 2A1 turbines of 2.380 hp each. With an empty pass of 5,3 tons, it can carry 5,7 tons of cargo, armament and fuel, its cabin being able to accommodate up to 29 armed soldiers.
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