The Netherlands has selected the Airbus Helicopters H225M Caracal as the successor to its ageing fleet of AS532 Cougars.

Announcing the decision to lawmakers, defence secretary Christophe van der Maat said the 14 new rotorcraft would be used to strengthen its special operations capacity.

H225M big -c-Dutch defence ministry

Source: Dutch defence ministry

Although the Cougar fleet is presently undergoing an upgrade programme that will see it remain in service until 2030, The Netherlands is conscious that the 12 helicopters have been in service for 27 years already.

As with its predecessor, the new fleet will be operated from Gilze-Rijen air base.

Other customers for the H225M heavy-twin include France, Hungary and Singapore.