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Double Dutch Anniversary Heavy Rotary

by Carlo KUIT & Paul KIEVIT/ Bronco Aviation

Issue 100

April the 16th of 2020 marked the 75th Anniversary of The Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) 298 Squadron which is currently operating a force of ten CH-47D ‘Chinooks’ and is awaiting delivery of twenty CH-47F MY II CAAS Chinooks (US Army Multi Year II program, Common Avionics Architecture System) as replacement. Due to the COVID-19 crisis the planned 75th Anniversary was postponed to a later moment. Especially COVID-19 and the introduction of the new Chinook fleet is on top of the mind of Lt Col. Niels van den BERG, the current Commander of 298 squadron. Niels transitioned from 300 Squadron during 2011 and has been 298 Squadron’s Commander since September 2018.  “My primary focus is to have stability in the squadron. We have worked incredibly hard over the last seven years implementing new procedures, quality assurance and improved operations which has shown to be successful. There is no need to change”. Niels continues “The big challenge for the squadron is implementing the new CH-47F fleet and remaining open for business to support international missions. The moment that we have both the new CH-47F and legacy CH-47Ds in use with the squadron this will be a turning point in potentially briefly impacting availability for operations. We expect under the current COVID-19 situation to have the conversion completed by 2022”. The first new CH-47Fs are expected to arrive in The Netherlands during December 2020. As Boeing Philadelphia has been identified as Critical Infrastructure, the impact by COVID-19 has been minimal. The total number of new CH-47F MYII CAAS Chinooks within the Royal Netherlands Air Force will be twenty. Fifteen will be assigned to 298 Squadron at Gilze-Rijen Air Base while five will remain with 302 Squadron at Fort Hood in the United States.”

COVID-19 Crisis Impact