The spring 2020 delivery of CH-47F Chinooks and other materiel and services to the Royal Netherlands Air Force is a critical step in deterring regional threats and strengthening U.S.-Coalition capabilities.
The Netherlands purchased the U.S. military’s twin-engine heavy-lift helicopters through a $755M foreign military sales (FMS) case executed by Redstone Arsenal’s U.S. Army Security Assistance Command (USASAC).
The ongoing split delivery began in the spring. Aircraft delivered to Huntsville, Alabama, is undergoing modifications while aircraft that will be delivered to the Netherlands later this year will be fielded by the Dutch military.
Several of the aircraft have also been delivered to the largest active duty U.S. military base in the world—Fort Hood, Texas—where RNAF troops will train on them. At the sprawling 340-square mile installation, U.S. and Dutch troops have been conducting joint combat training for two decades.
According to USASAC case manager Heath Bedard, the Dutch military has permanent staff stationed at Fort Hood and hundreds of Dutch troops deploy to Texas year-round to conduct exercises.
Bedard has been working FMS for nine years and called this most recent delivery, and the relationship between the two nations, a perfect example of the success and benefits of our nation’s foreign policy strategy.
“It really is a win-win for everyone. This case naturally helps our Dutch partners improve their homeland defense, but it also improves regional stability and bolsters the strength of the NATO alliance,” he said.
Specifically, Bedard said the Chinook acquisition will enhance everything from troop movement, medical evacuation and aircraft recovery to parachute drop, search and rescue, and firefighting operations.
“That’s a significant component of the USASAC mission – building partner capacity,” he said. “The other part of that benefits the larger team, because now we have a partner nation who is better able to provide direct support to Coalition operations and other security cooperation activities. This lessens the load for the U.S. and its allies.
Strong allies provide increased interoperability on the battlefield, nation-to-nation agreements that enable freedom of movement and maneuver and the combined strength to help deter wars. They also provide the might to fight and win wars, if necessary.
Bedard said it is clear to see how the strength of one partner impacts the strength of the Coalition. “And that’s why strengthening alliances and attracting new partners is key to our National Defense Strategy, and Army and DOD leaders continue to reinforce allies and partners as a priority.
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