Defence News Summary 23-29 March 2015

F-15 Eagles from the 125th Fighter Wing of the US Air National Guard are to be guests at Leeuwarden Air Base for a number of weeks. A summary of Defence news for the week of 23-29 March.

American F-15s temporarily stationed at Leeuwarden Air Base

US Air Force personnel will not only be training together with Dutch F-16s, but will also be taking part in Exercise Frisian Flag, which is a major exercise to be held between 13 and 24 April at Leeuwarden Air Base.

Middendorp addresses UN partners in New York

On 27 March, General Tom Middendorp attended a conference on UN reforms in New York, where he shared recent Dutch mission experiences with the Chiefs of Defence of more than 80 troop-contributing nations. He made particular reference to the Dutch mission in Mali. "Our deployment of intelligence-gathering assets is demonstrating its added value for the UN operation in Mali on an almost daily basis. We would like to share our experiences in this area in order to make our working method a permanent fixture for future missions." The Chief of Defence also advocated short decision-making lines for rapidly deployable units.

Netherlands purchases 8 F-35 aircrafts

The Netherlands has confirmed that it is to purchase 8 F-35 Lightning II aircraft in 2019. This was ratified on 25 March in Washington D.C., with Lieutenant General Christopher C. Bogdan, the Head of the F-35 Programme Office, in attendance. "It is a relief that, after over 12 years of political debate, we finally have clarity on the successor of the F-16", said Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, Minister of Defence. "This is the point of no return", she added. The Netherlands had previously purchased 2 test aircraft.

Future Force Conference brings major players together

"Together, we must go in search of the answers for meeting the challenges of tomorrow." That was the Chief of Defence General Tom Middendorp's rallying cry at the conclusion of the Future Force Conference on 25 March. "We must work at our credibility, build networks, anticipate new developments and continue to innovate." The cream of the military world and partners from the worlds of science, industry and government had gathered at the National Military Museum in Soesterberg to discuss future international strategy during the 2-day conference. General Middendorp sees the conference as a catalyst for increased and improved cooperation between the aforementioned fields.

More remains of MH17 victims recovered

On 24 and 25 March, the Dutch investigation team in Ukraine recovered more remains of MH17 victims at the so-called burned sites close to the town of Grabovo. The remains have been taken to Charkov. A number of personal effects were also recovered at the sites. The Dutch team of Defence and police officials are currently preparing to resume the repatriation mission.