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Magazine Helicopter Industry #102

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HELICOPTER INDUSTRY I

HELICOPTER INDUSTRY I MILITARY I MISSIONS OF THE PAST «Nihil Nobis Nimium» or «Nothing is too much» is the motto of the 298 Squadron. The Squadron has been involved in many missions and oversea deployments since it has been operating with the CH-47D/F. Kosovo (KFOR, 1999), Allied Harbor in Albania and a year later for UNMEE (United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea). From January 2001 till May 2004, the Royal Netherlands Air Force detachments contributed to NATO’s Stabilization Force (SFOR) in Bosnia. From July 2003 to November 2005 they served in Iraq. The detachment provided transport for the Stabilization Force in Iraq (SFIR) for the Dutch military personnel from the Security Forces. From May 2005 to June 2006, three Chinooks were deployed for the Dutch Special Forces deployment for Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). Two Chinooks were lost due to accidents in 2005 during these operations. As of 2007 to October 2010, 298 Squadron was regularly active from Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan in support of NATO Operation ISAF (International Security Assistance Force). And lastly from April 2014 to April 2017, three Chinooks participated in the «Minusma» Mission. This UN Mission was designed to restore Peace and Stability in Mali. TRAINING IN THE US «The initial training for new crews is conducted at Fort Rucker Air Base (US) as part of the Chinook Aircraft Qualification Course. After completing the course new crews are continuing their training with the Squadron at Gilze-Rijen Air Base». 2 nd LT ‘Frank’ explains. «We were planned to travel to Fort Hood to have a ten-week training period with 302 Squadron as part of the Mission Qualification Training (MQT)». This squadron provides Joint Air Assault Training for Helicopter Crews of the Defense Helicopter Command (DHC) and ground units of 11 Airmobile Brigade, this will take place during four times a year with the ‘American Falcon’ exercise to conclude the training. In addition, Pilots and Load-Masters follow the Initial Mission Qualification Training twice a year. The squadron is staffed with personnel from the Royal Netherlands Air Force, Army, and the US Army. Frank continues «our group consists of a mixture of a CH-47 loadmaster, Pilot, but also AH-64 pilots. Just before we would travel it became clear that we would not go to the US. Due to the Covid-19 situation the original schedule will require revision as currently 302 Squadron stood down with no training activities. We are now being trained within the Squadron here in The Netherlands. This means we all have to be flexible to cater for the further Education as Training is conducted alongside daily operations». Captain Booze details further «The Defense Helicopter Command is a more complex organization to cater for this ad-hoc additional training. Luckily, we managed to be flexible and had a fast resolution in place. The focus for training is now on Tactical Exercises, Navigational Skills and Planning of Flights. In order to provide best possible training, we need to have Instructor Pilots and Ground Forces to act as Enemy Forces. As we cannot fully focus on the MQT training the duration will be longer than the 10-week period at Fort Hood”. HI I 48

FIREFIGHTING The Netherlands have been confronted with the largest wild fires in 40 years in the Southern part of the Netherlands, Deurnsche Peel and Herkenbosch, during the third week of April 2020. Starting off with one supporting Chinook it resulted in a combined FBO (Fire Bucket Operations) effort of four Chinooks, an AS 532 Cougar, Mobile Air Operations Teams (MAOT) and the Local Fire Brigades. ‘In case we are asked to support Firefighting Operations the Tasking Order is provided by NASOC (National Air and Space Operations Center) to the Staff of DHC’ adds Niels. «The week before the fires started, we already had been asked to have one helicopter on standby”. Christiaan Velthausz, on-scene Commander and part of the Fire Department: “Under normal circumstances, the Ministry of Defense generally supplies Helicopter Capacity within 24 hours of the request. Although in practice this is a lot faster, usually about 3 to 4 hours. In the event of an increased risk of wildfires, FBO and therefore the Helicopters can be put at 2 hours’ notice to move». «During the Firefighting we had on average five to ten MAOT (Mobile Air Operations Team) personnel to support the FBO operations». The main lessons learned have been to work on a large-scale bases for a long period in a complex setting’ according to Sergeant-Major Rob van Mierlo, Commander MAOT. From the 1st of April 2020 onwards MAOT has a team on standby continuously, ready to set off within 2 hours. «In the event of very large or difficult-to-combat fires, the (Civil) Heli-Team Fire Team with Helicopters and the Mobile Air Operations Team (MAOT) of DHC form the so-called «Fire Bucket Operations (FBO) Team». This team works together with the Local Fire Brigade on site. “About 10 years ago, the Defense Organization requested a single Point of Contact for extinguishing operations; that became the Heli-Team Fire Brigade», according to Christiaan Velthausz, the on-scene Commander. «We have a total of 10 Bambi Buckets which can hold in theory 10,000L of water. “During FBO operations we only drop 8,000L each time as with full capacity to prevent engine over torque as we demand all power available with full fuel load so it is safer to carry less without a risk having to return due to potential over torque”. adds Captain Boezen. One of the loadmasters, who was involved in the firefighting is ‘Jimmy’ explains “We had an observer of the Fire Department joining our flights who had a map showing coordinates where to drop the water. My task was to inform the Pilots on the coordinates where to drop water. After each drop, we received direct feedback by Local Observers on the ground if our drop was successful. This worked out perfectly». Over a 5-day period more then 3,2MIO Liters of water was dropped during 540 individual drops. MORE ABOUT CH-47D CHINOOK HI I 49