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Belgian Air Force's NH90 TTHs performing first training flights in Africa

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World Defense & Security News - Belgium
 
 
Belgian Air Force's NH90 TTHs performing first training flights in Africa
 
Two NH90 Caïman Tactical Transport Helicopters from the Belgian Air Force today executed their first training flight on the African continent, the BAF said on Twitter. The two choppers, in service with the 18th Squadron (Beauvechain AB), will be involved in the one month-long Tropical Storm exercise organized in Gabon.
     
Belgian Air Force s H90 TTHs performing first training flights in Africa 640 002A BAF NH90 TTH deployed in Gabon for the Exercise Tropical Storm
(Credit: BAF/Bart Rosselle)
     
"The 18th Squadron, which organized the helicopters shipment, was then entering a new stage in the NH90 operational engagement", the Belgian Defense Ministry said in a statement.

In addition to the Caïman, the BAF is engaging three C-130H Hercules transport aicraft and two A109 light multirole helicopters to support the Belgian Army's Light Brigade. The Belgian military will specially "focus on special operations and specific tactics of para-commandos in Africa's typical climatic conditions," said the Ministry.

"This [exercise] could be considered as a major final test before a possible operational deployment in Mali in 2018," the Belgian Defense Ministry added.

Brussels plans to strengthen its presence within the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). In May, the major-general Jean-Paul Deconinck, which leads the MINUSMA, confirmed the foreseen deployment of two NH90s between March and July 2018 to replace German helicopters in Gao.

Belgian Air Force received four NH90 TTH platforms, all operated by the BAF's 18 Squadron out of Beauvechain Air Base. Belgium's first NH90 TTH entered service in October 2013, and the last was delivered on 13 November 2014.
     
Belgian Air Force s H90 TTHs performing first training flights in Africa 640 001A BAF NH90 TTH deployed in Gabon for the Exercise Tropical Storm
(Credit: BAF/Bart Rosselle)