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Netherlands buys H225M helos for special operations, AARGM-ER for F-35

The Netherlands is to buy 14 Airbus Helicopters H225M Caracal multirole rotorcraft for use by its special operations forces. (DGA)

The Netherlands is purchasing Airbus Helicopters H225M Caracal multirole rotorcraft to be used by its special operations forces (SOF) as well as the Northrop Grumman Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile-Extended Range (AARGM-ER) for its Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter.

The Dutch Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced the procurements on 5 June.

โ€œThe acquisition [of 14 H225M helicopters] is one of the measures with which the Ministry of Defence converts a squadron of the Defence Helicopter Command into an SOF [unit]. Strengthening SOF capabilities for land and sea operations is a spearhead of the Defence Memorandum published last year,โ€ the MoD said.

โ€œWith the [AARGM-ER] purchase, the Ministry of Defence not only has a deterrent but also scarce capacity. In Europe, there is a shortage of this type of A2/AD [anti-access/area denial] ammunition. By training with the new ammunition and support systems, the F-35s can also participate (internationally) in new concepts of air performance. This contributes to the innovative capacity of the armed forces.โ€

No contract values were disclosed.

According to the announcement, H225M deliveries will commence in 2028, with the new helicopters being based at Gilze-Rijen Air Base alongside the Royal Netherlands Air Force's (RNLAF's) 12 existing Airbus Helicopters AS532 Cougars that are now being modernised to take them through to 2030. The H225Ms will eventually replace the Cougars in RNLAF service.

No numbers or delivery timeline were given for the AARGM-ER purchase.

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