Netherlands Gutting Maritime Patrol Force

Holland – long a leader in “let it be” socialism – continues its march towards disarmament with the “going out of business” sale of its P-3 aircraft fleet. As the Dutch now spend more than half of their gross national product on domestic programs aimed at giving every citizen as comfortable a life as possible, in July, the Dutch government announced that it had reached an agreement with Germany about the sale of eight P-3C CUP Orions aircraft. Pending an approval from the German Parliament (expected in October), the first aircraft will be handed over to the German Navy at NAS Nordholz in November, 2005, and the last aircraft in March, 2006.

The sales contract reportedly includes eight completely modernized P-3C CUP Orion aircraft, a recently modernized P-3C flightdeck simulator, a spare parts package, and the training of the first German Navy crews at a price of $357 million.

Undetermined is where Holland’s five remaining P-3s will go.

As part of Holland’s abandoning blue water maritime air patrol, the government will be closing not only RNLNAS Valkenburg, but RNLNAS De Kooy as well. The latter is also home base for Holland’s Lynx helicopters, which are to be replaced by NH-90 naval support copters in 2007. The NH-90 is roughly equivalent to the Kaman SH-2 Seasprite, various versions of which have been in use by the US Navy since the 1950s. Reportedly, all Dutch military helicopters (RNLN and RNLAF) will be concentrated at Gilze Rijen Air Force Base.

To help fill the gap, Stork Aerospace Industries is modifying two additional Fokker 60s for the Royal Netherlands Air Force, to be stationed in the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba (Holland already has four in its Air Force). The modifications to the Fokker 60s will include an enhanced radar system, additional fuel tanks and special observation windows suited for surveillance tasks. The modification contract has a value of $14.5 million The Fokkers have no anti-submarine, anti-surface, or any other warfare capabilities.

These two aircraft are to replace, on the cheap, Holland’s 13 P-3s (good luck) in maritime air reconnaissance tasks of the naval P-3C Orion aircraft. The Fokkers are to be leased for just 18–24 months, after which Holland has announced no plans to replace them.

The Nav Log