From September 17th till October 12th 2018, the Royal Dutch Air Force participated with several helicopters and fixed wing C-130H Hercules aircraft along with the 11th Air Assault brigade during the annual exercise “Falcon Autumn 2018”. This exercise is specifically designed to train military personnel on civilian territories to obtain the most realistic results with various locations and scenario’s in the Netherlands.

Several units work close together in this annual exercise, namely the “Defense Helicopter Command” (DHC) with their CH-47 Chinook transport helicopters and AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, 336 Squadron with their fixed wing C-130H Hercules transport aircraft and the Dutch army 11th Air Assault Brigade with some scan eagle drone’s as well.

The 11th Air Assault Brigade works this year close together with their German partner unit “Division Schnelle Kräfte” (DSK). This 11th Air assault brigade consists of 9,500 German and 2,300 Dutch red berets and is a unique unit within the Dutch army because it can deploy his troops to hotspots in only 20 days all over the globe.

Together these units will operate from the temporary operational air base Deelen in the center of the Netherlands from where all Air Assaults took place in large packages.
For the first time in history, the Division Schnelle Kräfte (DSK) joined this exercise with eight German NH-90TTH transport helicopters from Transport Helicopter Regiment 30 (THR30) and operate together with DHC helicopter package consisting of four CH-47 Chinooks and six AH-64 Apache’s from the Royal Netherlands Air Force.

These military units are dropped by the helicopters or C-130 Hercules aircraft at several locations which have been chosen in advance where the air assaults will take place in order to take over these civil objects from the aggressor units present during day and night operations.

Also part of the exercise is dropping cargo from the C-130 to supply the 11th Air Assault Brigade in these realistic environments. During the display the Hercules dropped some 10 tons of cargo with some state of the art parachute delivery systems borrowed from the Belgium Air Force. These parachute systems disconnect the chute from the package when it touches the ground to avoid dragging compared to the old system.

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