As Russia concentrates its forces on its border with Ukraine, NATO and Russia continue to blame each other for the current friction, much of it attributed by Moscow to NATO exercises in Ukraine.
State Department approves two Dutch FMS training deals
The US State Department has approved two FMS deals to help the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) deliver helicopter pilot training and logistics support, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced on 16 March.
Pilot training, weapon system and software support and other services for the RNLAF CH-47 Chinook programme will be provided under one deal with an estimated value of $125 million.
Shephard Defence Insight notes that the RNLAF is receiving 20 CH-47F helicopters from Boeing via the FMS programme. Deliveries began in 2020 and are continuing this year.
The other FMS, worth an estimated $190 million, covers pilot training and logistics for AH-64 Apache helicopters, including support for the ongoing RNLAF programme to upgrade its fleet of 28 AH-64Ds to the AH-64E Apache Guardian configuration.
In both the FMS announcements, the DSCA noted that the proposed sale will improve the capability of the RNLAF to maintain a set of highly trained and deployment-ready Chinook and Apache units, via continued training activities at Fort Hood, Texas.
The agency added that this training includes the American Falcon exercise, ‘which serves as a certifying event for Dutch military units and personnel to deploy abroad, often supporting US-led coalition operations’.
Neither announcement included details of a prime contractor but CAE and L3Harris Military Training (currently being acquired by CAE) are long-standing providers of training simulators for the CH-47.
For the AH-64, Boeing produces its Longbow Crew Trainer (LCT) but L3 also produces low-fidelity simulators for the US Army in the Aviation Combined Arms Tactical Trainer programme.
The RNLAF has its own LCT and undertakes CH-47 training at the Medium Support Helicopter Aircrew Training Facility at RAF Benson in the UK. This is managed by CAE and Serco.
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