Military practice at Twente Airport

From June 12 to 14, the military exercise 'RED DAGGER' took place at Twente Airport for the third time. The former airbase of the Royal Air Force was the scene of a realistic exercise scenario including parachute jumps in the evening hours. At the same time, there was a simulated attack with an L-39 fighter jet and two Apache helicopters and a landing of a small transport aircraft. In addition, a Learjet with sensors provided real-time information for ground forces. Spectacular was the transfer of 50 soldiers including a quad from two Chinook helicopters into a C-130 Hercules transport aircraft on the last day of practice.


For Major Sven, head of Air Land IntegrationCoordination Cell of the Corps of Command Troops, Thursday was one of the highlights of the exercise: 'The cross-load was the transition from a tactical exfiltration with helicopters to a strategic extraction with the C-130. Within the scenario, this action happened under tactical conditions and was executed within 15 minutes.' The helicopters of the RED DAGGER exercise were from the Defense Helicopter Command, stationed at Gilze-Rijen Air Base. From there, the exercise was conducted.


Major Sven explains what RED DAGGER was all about: 'Within the exercise, integration between ground and air was central. Many facets within the spectrum 3D were synchronized and practiced. Ground-based fire support, air support and air transport, all applied within a tactical scenario.' The major is very pleased with Twente Airport's cooperation: 'Because the former airbase is owned by the government, it can be involved fairly easily in an exercise such as RED DAGGER. Tricky but essential in organizing such an exercise is having airspace at one's disposal. The cooperation of an active airfield is ideal here.'

Task Force

Some 200 soldiers from the army and air force formed the 'Task Force' during the exercise. This consisted of a component Special Operations Task Group (SOTG) and a Special Operations Air Task Group (SOATG). The RED DAGGER exercise takes place 1-2 times a year. Incidentally, exercises were held not only at Twente Airport, but also in the Maas/Waal low flying area and the Oirschot, Leusderheide and Garderen training areas. The Deelen military airfield was used by the helicopters as a tank (refuel) location.

Photos and article by Remco de Wit

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