Dutch Apaches fly last missions in Afghanistan

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The Netherlands' Boeing AH-64D Apache attack helicopters will be returned to Gilze-Rijen air base soon, having flown their last missions in Afghanistan.

A short ceremony to mark the end of the six-year detachment was held on 12 November, with the aircraft to be transported home from Kandahar airfield.

Six Dutch Apaches were deployed to Kabul in 2004 in support of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, with five later relocating to Kandahar for a few months before being moved to Camp Holland near Tarin Kowt in Uruzgan province.

 
© Royal Netherlands Air Force

The aircraft performed missions including reconnaissance, close air support and shows of force, and since 2006 were flown more than 1,200 times in support of ground troops, logging over 7,000h.

Following a decision by the Dutch government to withdraw its military personnel from Afghanistan, the role given to its Apache crews changed to protecting convoys redeploying assets for their return shipment to the Netherlands. They also maintained a quick reaction force capability to support other coalition troops.

The Netherlands Defence Helicopter Command has 29 Apaches. Flightglobal's HeliCAS database says 27 of these are currently active.