Home Air Dutch Coast Guard welcomes first of 2 new Dash-8 ISR aircraft

Dutch Coast Guard welcomes first of 2 new Dash-8 ISR aircraft

Dutch Coast Guard DHC-8 Dash 8
Photo: Dutch defense ministry

The Netherlands Coastguard received the first of two new Dash-8 (DHC-8) aircraft, as the airframe landed in the Netherlands from Canada on September 10.

The two new platforms will succeed the Dornier-288 aircraft currently in service and will be tasked with maritime patrol missions.

Before its anticipated entry into service, the Dash-8 will be tested and the personnel trained. The second airframe is expected to be operational in October this year. Until then, a Beechkraft King Air aircraft will serve as a backup aircraft.

According to the Dutch defense ministry, the first airframe arrived about six months later than expected. The defense ministry added that the delay was partly caused by the COVID crisis.

Dash-8 offers a longer flight time than its predecessor, and includes a surface radar which offers a quick overview of shipping, day and night, among other possibilities.

Furthermore, the aircraft is equipped with a hatch on the underside of the fuselage, from where the crew can cast a life raft, smoke markers and data buoys. A data buoy floats in the sea and reports position, water and air temperature. This information provides more insight into the possible location of a drowning person.

The Coast Guard is leasing the Dash-8s from ISR Support Europe, a consortium that supplies the pilots and maintenance personnel. The air observers, so-called aerial officers, come from Rijkswaterstaat (Directorate-General for Public Works and Water Management), customs, and the Marechaussee (the national gendarmerie).

The Dutch Coast Guard will be responsible for coordinating the aircraft’s deployment from the Schiphol-East home base.

Photo: Dutch defense ministry

It is worth noting that the Dutch Caribbean Coastguard contracted PAL Aerospace earlier this year for the upgrade and operation of two fully missionized DHC-8 maritime patrol aircraft over a 10-year period.