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 information site De Telegraaf, that the Netherlands would acquire a fleet of 14 Airbus H225M Caracal maneuvering helicopters from 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. 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 ultimately led to the decision in favor of the European aircraft.
Entered into service in 2005, the Caracal, the final evolution of the Super Puma family, is in service with a dozen armed forces, including France, which uses 18 devices, including 7 for combat rescue missions in within the EH/67 Pyrénées squadron of the Air and Space Force, and eight within the 4th Combat Helicopter Regiment of the Special Forces.
The device, almost 20 meters long, is supported by a 16.2 m rotor propelled by 2 Makila 2A1 turbines of 2,380 hp each. With an empty weight of 5.3 tonnes, it can transport 5.7 tonnes of cargo, weapons and fuel, its cabin accommodating up to 29 armed soldiers.
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