While not yet fully operational, Belgian NH90 TTH helicopters could be withdrawn from service

Of all the countries of Western Europe, Belgium is undoubtedly one of those which has suffered the most from the workforce reductions linked to the “Peace Dividends”. Yes modernization plans have been launched in recent years, after several decades of budget cuts, the famel Belgian defense budget will not make it possible to renew and maintain all of the current operational capabilities. Especially since the micro-fleets of equipment are complex and expensive to maintain. The dimensioning of the Belgian helicopter fleets is particularly representative of this phenomenon, which aims to maintain operational capacities with the least possible means, making their use particularly difficult.

Thus, Belgian participation in the European NH90 helicopter program was limited to the strict minimum. For naval operations, the Air Component (Belgian air force) thus received only two NH90 NFH-SAR, intended for sea rescue operations, and two NH90 NFH-MAR capable of carrying out anti-ship and anti-submarine. For support to land operations, four aircraft, NH90 TTHs, were also ordered and delivered in the early 2010s. However, even though the full operational capacity of the Belgian NH90 TTHs is not expected before 2022, the Defense announced that it wants to reduce the flight plan of the four Air Component TTH helicopters. A decision that is accompanied by unconfirmed rumors evoking the study of an early withdrawal of these devices yet at the very beginning of their career.

The NH90 TTHs of the Air Component are intended for combat rescue operations, in support of the troops of the Land Component, for medical evacuation for the benefit of the Medicine Component and for numerous logistics operations. The size of the fleet reduced to its simplest, however, causes major problems of operational costs, availability of the fleet and recruitment of pilots.

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