Belgian Air Force’s 18th Squadron “Initial Operational Capable” on NH-90 MTH.
In a ceremony organised on May 20th, 2015 at Beauvechain airbase, locally based N° 18 Squadron was officially declared “Initial Operational Capable” (IOC) by Belgian Air Component Commander Maj Gen Avi Frederik Vansina.
The first of four Airbus Helicopters NH-90 MTH (Multi-role Transport helicopter) arrived at Beauvechain airbase on 2 October 2013 while the last joined N° 18 Squadron in November 2014 meaning that the specialised crews managed to reach the IOC status in less than 20 months – no mean achievement.
Achieving the Initial Operational Capability means that the four NH90 MTH helicopters of the Belgian Air Force can now be tasked with basic transport missions of personnel and equipment (including under slung cargo) in Belgium and abroad (Humanitarian Aid Programs) by day as well as by night.
This also allow to start further specialised training to achieve “Full Operational Capability’” (FOC) which is foreseen by the end of next year. This includes reaching milestones such as full mobile support for the Land Component’s Light Brigade and achieving self-defence and Electronic warfare capabilities. For this the crews have to master complex military flight manoeuvres to be able to participate in operations in enemy territory in close cooperation with several ground and air weapon systems.
At the moment 4 crews out of planned 9 are operational as well as 29 technicians out of 45 foreseen.
To mark this important event Maj Gen
Vansina presented a commemorative frame to Beauvechain Airbase Commander
Col Georges Franchomme. (Daniel Brackx)
Spectacular departure from a simulated extraction zone.
Under slung cargo transport - a handy capability for Belgian Defence
The last of the four NH-90 MTH, RN-08 in its specially constructed hangar at Beauvechain airbase.
Belgian Air Component
Commander Maj Gen Vansina presents a commemorative frame (see above)
to Beauvechain Airbase Commander Col Georges Franchomme.
All four NH-90 MTH's ready for a bright future.
© Daniel Brackx - (May 2015)
Last updated 07/11/11 10:59 Daniel Brackx