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Belgian army reduces flight plan for NH-90 TTH helicopters and withdraws B-Hunter drones.

| 2020

The Belgian army organization is undergoing profound change, facing a big challenge in the field of human resources. In this context, it was decided to reduce the flight plan for the NH-90 TTH (Troop Transport Helicopter) version and to withdraw the B-Hunter UAV from use four months earlier than planned.

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Belgian army reduces flight plan for NH 90 TTH helicopters and withdraws B Hunter drones 1 Belgian NH90 TTH of the Land Component during a demo with Belgian Special Forces at Beauvechain Air Base (Picture source: Army Recognition)

The measurements related to the TTH version of the NH-90 Caiman are due to its limited operational production due to imperfect industrial support (which threatens to decrease in the coming years) due to very expensive but necessary upgrades and shortages in staff. The Belgian Defense has chosen to focus primarily on the NFH version (NATO Frigate Helicopter), which, in its maritime role, must increase the efficiency of the frigates and at the same time ensure the SAR (Search and Rescue) mission. To provide support for the Land Component and the Medical Component in the future, several solutions are currently being studied.

A second measure is to accelerate the retirement of the B-Hunter UAVs. The current B-Hunter has low availability and no longer meets the standards and requirements of current operational theaters. Early decommissioning will allow personnel to optimally prepare for the planned deployment in 2023 of the MQ-9B SkyGuardian and to strengthen other weapon systems. For the initial technical support of the MQ-9B, maximum use will be made of industry.

Faced with this profound transformation and this extraordinary challenge in the area of human resources, a period of reconditioning is therefore imperative. It should make it possible to stabilize, recruit new employees, integrate new capacities, invest in new infrastructure under renovation and meet future challenges with the necessary energy. This has operational consequences where care must be taken to maintain a coherent operational commitment within the limits of the possibilities taking into account the restrictions imposed.

It is in this very specific context that these proposals were submitted to the Chief of Defense (CHOD) and to the Minister of Defense for decision. The decisions made will affect each component individually (Land, Air, and Navy), in some cases altogether, in others only a part of them.

Belgian army reduces flight plan for NH 90 TTH helicopters and withdraws B Hunter drones 2 B-Hunter UAV (Picture source: Belgian MoD)

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