Den Helder, Netherlands

Column of Commander Defense Helicopter Command

Good neighbor,

The De Kooy Maritime Air Base has existed since 1918 and Den Helder Airport and Defense have been working together here since 1981. It clearly shows the value of the saying 'Better a good neighbor than a distant friend'. For example, we use the runway and runway system together and the military fire brigade and traffic control also handle civilian traffic. The collaboration runs very smoothly and is also very effective. But from the civilian part of the airport it is not always clear what is happening on the military side. I would like to tell you more about that.

For the past fifteen years, De Kooy has been part of the Defense Helicopter Command (DHC), part of the Royal Netherlands Air Force. All Defense helicopters operate from the DHC. In addition to the NH90 maritime attack helicopters at De Kooy, there are the Chinook and Cougar transport helicopters and Apache attack helicopters at the Gilze-Rijen air base in North Brabant.

At De Kooy we focus on educating and training crews and their support to guarantee our safety on the world's oceans on board the ships of the Royal Navy. Our NH90s are indispensable for the fleet to obtain a good picture of the situation at sea. Both above and below water, the helicopters can quickly overview the situation due to their flight height, sensors and data links. The helicopters are armed with torpedoes to attack them. Our NH90 helicopters also work with the Marine Corps to conduct amphibious operations from the air. De Kooy, so close to the naval port, is the perfect base for this collaboration.

In order to cope with the increasing insecurity, Defense is growing again after many years. Fortunately, this also offers room to modernize the outdated military infrastructure at the air base. The 860 Squadron will finally receive their new squadron building in the foreseeable future.

In addition to continuously improving the capabilities of the NH90 helicopter, we are looking at the possibilities of unmanned aviation to increase our maritime capabilities in the future. Finally, together with Den Helder Airport, we make continuous efforts to limit the nuisance caused by our flight movements, while we also continue to work on making aviation more sustainable.

A beautiful task that we would like to further shape with our neighbors.

Commodore Pier Schipmölder
Commander Defense Helicopter Command

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