Three Royal Netherlands Air Force helicopters have been involved in an unusual deployment to the Sardinian airbase.
In the last years we have documented the deployment of RNlAF helicopters to airbases across Italy. It all started with a MoU (Memorandum Of Understanding) signed in 2003 that foresaw the periodical deployment of Dutch helicopters (AH-64D, CH-47 and Cougar) to train in the mountainous areas located around the Italian airports, in tactical low level flights needed keep the currencies required to be employed in Afghanistan.
More recently, from Jul. 23 to Aug. 3, three Royal Netherlands Air Force CH-47D Chinooks performed a first deployment to Decimomannu, Sardinia, Italy.
The helicopters (serials D-103, D-106 and D-663), belonging to the 298 Sqn, from Gilze-Rijen airbase, were reportedly involved in various
training activities, including landing in desert areas and coping with the brownout effect: the latter occurs when the downwash from the helicopter kicks up a dust cloud resulting in reduced visibility. Therefore the brownout can be particularly dangerous as it forces the aircrew to approach the ground with limited outside visual references and risk of loss of situational awareness.
Along with the more advanced CH-47Fs, the RNlAF operates 11 CH-47D. Six will be upgraded to the F standard, increasing the fleet to 20 F-model Chinooks.
Image credit: Giampaolo Mallei