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Royal Netherlands Navy

Goalkeeper Anti-Aircraft

The beginning of what is now the Royal Netherlands Navy is when Maximilian of Habsburg appointed an Admiral to supervise the, before then private, Dutch naval defences on the 8th of january 1488. During the Dutch revolt that lasted from 1568 to 1648 the Dutch Navy was restructured into five admiralties, three in Holland (Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Noorderkwartier), one in Zeeland (Middelburg) and one in Friesland (Dokkum). The object of the Dutch Navy was to protect the soil and trade routs of the Dutch Republic. The Netherlands Marine Corps was founded on the 10th of december 1665 by Grand Pensionary Johan de Witt and Admiral Michiel Adriaenszoon de Ruyter during the second Anglo-Dutch war. It wasn't until the 18th of august 1917 that the Navy Aviation Service was founded. Its main task is to support missions of the Royal Netherlands Navy.

MARPAT (Decommissioned)

In the past, the Navy Aviation Service was divided in the Group Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MARPAT) and the Group Maritime Helicopters (MARHELI). However, since the 1st of januari 2005, MARPAT was decommissioned due to financial cutbacks. On the 14th of januari 2005 both 320 squadron and 321 squadron were decommissioned. Eight Lockheed P-3CII Orion patrol aircraft were sold to Germany and the remaining five to Portugal. The German and Portuguese Navy personel have been trained by the personnel of the Naval Air Station Valkenburg to operate the Orions from 2005 until mid 2006. After that, Naval Air Station Valkenburg was closed down.


The Group Maritime Helicopters (MARHELI) consists of aircraftsquadrons 7 and 860. Both squadrons are stationed at Naval Air Station De Kooy, close to Den Helder. A total of 20 type Westland SH-14 D Lynx helicopters are stationed here. The Lynx is one of the most agile helicopters in the world, capable of performing backflips. Aircraftsquadron 7 is the 'Search and Rescue' squadron. Also, it's the squadron that arranges trainings for aviators and maintainance personnel and it arranges transport flights and special missions, for example for the Netherlands Marine Corps.

Aircraftsquadron 860 is the main squadron for helicopters stationed on ships. This squadron also arranges courses for ships-personnel that will have to work with the helicopters. The main task of the helicopters stationed on ships is to locate and destroy enemy ships and submarines. To this end the Lynx is equipped with weapons and sensors. The Lynxs helicopters also have warning and diversion systems aganist heat- and radar-guided missiles and can be equipped with a gun. The Lynx helicopters drop dipping sonar sensors in the sea to localise submarines and carry torpedos to destroy them. Also, the lynx helicopters are used to drop special units on ships in the war on drugs. The helicopters can also be utilised for transport from ship to ship or to the shore. Lynx-helicopters were stationed on frigates deployed in the Mediterranian Sea (Operation Active Endeavour) and the Persian Gulf (Operation Enduring Freedom).

From 2007 on, all twenty Lynx helicopters will be replaced with twenty NHIndustries NH90 helicopters. The NH90 has increased endurance and passenger capicity and modern electronics.

Beechcraft 200 Super King Air used for training NAVY Aviators

This page was updated in oktober 2006

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