Home Air US, Netherlands sign agreement on future helicopter cooperation

US, Netherlands sign agreement on future helicopter cooperation

Dutch Apache
Photo: Dutch defense ministry

The Dutch defense ministry and the US military have signed an agreement on the sharing of information and developments in rotorcraft systems, which will also include the US Army’s future vertical lift efforts.

With the agreement signing, the Netherlands is becoming the second European country to join the US in the program. In February this year, the United Kingdom signed a similar agreement with the US Army.

As outlined by the Dutch defense ministry, the agreement will see both armed forces explore and analyze new concepts. These will concern the operation of helicopters in future operational environments, in addition to assessing whether cooperation in later phases of the future vertical lift development is feasible.

This includes research and development, standardization, testing, evaluation and production and maintenance of devices.

“We have to partly let go of the sometimes strong national focus in favor of interoperability within the alliance and between partners,” Dutch Air Force Maj. Gen. Andre Steur said.

“By working together, we provide a solid foundation for helicopter capabilities,” he added, noting that “operating as one fighting force” would allow the allies to fight “with more clout and a higher chance of survival.”

The agreement that was signed at the Gilze-Rijen air base in the south of the Netherlands is also aimed at reducing program costs, and avoiding schedule and capability risks in future helicopter programs, it was said.

In addition to the US Future Vertical Lift agreement, the Netherlands is also part of the NATO Next Generation Rotorcraft Capability (NGRC) project that will identify future solutions for the medium multi-role helicopters of five ally nations. An agreement on a clean-sheet design for the future helicopter was signed in June this year.