Weekly overview Defense operations | News item | Defense.nl

News item | 07-12-2022 | 12:00

Zr.Ms. The Netherlands managed to keep a large amount of drugs off the market again. The naval vessel intercepted 5,000 kilos in the Caribbean Sea. An overview of the Armed Forces’ operations in the period 30 November to 6 December 2022.

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The fast interceptor FRISC.

A patrol plane from the Caribbean Coast Guard discovered the medicine packages. The Netherlands sent a fast interceptor boat and the US Coast Guard helicopter to it. Drugs fished out of the water have been turned over to the US Coast Guard. She has since destroyed it.

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White cargo packages on platform ship.

5,000 kilos of substances extracted from the water.

It was the 4th drug bust of Zr.Ms. Netherlands. The ship has been a station ship in the Caribbean since October. In the past, the fleet has already intercepted around 1,600 kilos. In counter-drug operations, the Netherlands cooperates alternately with the Caribbean Coast Guard and the US Coast Guard.

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Soldiers dig water well.

Soldiers drill a well in Frederiksoord

Army soldiers are currently drilling a well in Frederiksoord, Drenthe. This oldest so-called Benevolent Colony is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The well must supply sufficient extinguishing water in the event of a major fire.

Last year, one of the colonial houses almost completely went up in flames. Measures were then taken to make the houses of the Society of Benevolence more fire-proof. For example, the fire service decided that 2 corps would appear after notification. One problem, however, was a lack of extinguishing water. With the drilling of the well, this problem is now a thing of the past.


Minister Kajsa Ollongren visited the Dutch military in Iraq. She also spoke to residents of Hawija about, among other things, restoration projects in the region.

Around 120 Dutch soldiers protect the Erbil airport and the surrounding area in Iraq. From Erbil, another 3 soldiers work as advisers to the Kurdish armed forces in the fight against ISIS. 2 Dutch staff officers have also been added to the mission headquarters (Operation Inherent Resolve) in Kuwait. A soldier is also stationed in Baghdad for this mission. The Netherlands is also participating in NATO’s capacity-building mission in Iraq with five military personnel. It is intended to advise the security sector. The national support element supports the deployment in both Baghdad and Erbil.

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Soldiers and vehicles in foreground.  Background: snowy mountains and thick pack of white clouds.

The counter-drone operations platoon at work in Romania.


The counter-drone operations division in Romania is trying to refine its performance in the operational environment. During their assignments, airmen discover how best to support a maneuver unit.

The Dutch soldiers participated in a large military parade in the capital Bucharest due to a national holiday. They did so together with their French and Belgian colleagues.

Around 200 Dutch military personnel in Romania are part of the advanced NATO presence. With training, the soldiers prepare themselves for all possible situations. With the multinational unit they are part of, they are ready to defend NATO territory in Romania.


The RAS (Robotics and Autonomous Systems) unit returned from Lithuania. The 17-man team tested, among other things, combat actions there with the remote-controlled tracked vehicle MilRem. The RAS unit was in the Baltic state for training and thus not part of NATO’s forward operational presence (eFP).

Since 2017, the Netherlands has contributed to NATO’s enhanced forward presence in Lithuania. The defense is currently deploying 270 to 300 military personnel to this advanced NATO presence. The force is in the Baltic country to show that NATO stands by and to show solidarity with the Lithuanian people.

Zr.Ms. Makkum

Zr.Ms. Makkum returned to Den Helder. For the past 5 weeks, the minesweeper has been part of Standing NATO Minecounter Measures Group 1. This NATO fleet mainly focuses on mine countermeasures in the North Sea and the Baltic Sea.

Marechaussees return after investigation in Ukraine

A military police force of about 40 men investigated war crimes in Ukraine. The device returned to the Netherlands last week.

Defense of NATO territory

The armed forces provide ships, army units and aircraft for the Ministry of Defence’s first main task: the defense of the NATO treaty area. See the overview of the Dutch military contribution to NATO.

Current operations abroad:

  • 3 staff officers work in Bamako for the Minusma mission in Mali. 1 soldier assists the Germans in Gao. In addition, the Netherlands provides 4 officers to the police component within the mission. All 14,000 Minusma blue helmets are commanded by Dutch Lieutenant General Kees Matthijssen. As long as he is force commander, Holland will supply 15 extra soldiers to Minusmastaben. In addition, 6 Dutch military personnel in Mali support the European training mission EUTM.
  • Dutch soldiers support German Patriot units in Slovakia. The anti-aircraft systems protect vital objects against possible threats from the air. This is happening in the context of NATO and has everything to do with the war in Ukraine.
  • Zr.Ms. Tromp is the flagship of Standing Nato Maritime Group 1 (SNMG1). It is one of 4 NATO naval alliances, permanently available for alliance missions. SNMG1 will be under Dutch command throughout 2022. This is the northernmost fleet, particularly active in the North Sea, Baltic Sea and Atlantic Ocean. SNMG1 conducts exercises at sea and visits various ports to maintain diplomatic ties.
  • Officials from the Navy’s Fleet Marine Squadron form so-called vessel protection divisions. These regularly protect Dutch ships against piracy in the Gulf of Aden.
  • Dutch soldiers are involved in peacekeeping missions in the Middle East. These include Undof, Untso and Unifil.
  • In Jerusalem and Ramallah, 6 Dutch are involved in the USSC mission. It concerns 3 civilians and 3 military personnel. The USSC focuses on professionalizing the Palestinian security sector. The USSC seeks to contribute to the viability of a stable Palestinian state. The United States is coordinating the mission.
  • Dutch military personnel also contribute to various headquarters and forward missions. The uniformed have been sent individually to the Spanish Rota (European Union Naval Forces), Bahrain (Combined Maritime Forces), Abu Dhabi (European-led Maritime Awareness Strait of Hormuz), Tunis (European Liaison & Planning Cell Tunis) (in civilian clothes ) ), Kosovo (EU Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo) and Qatar (Operation Inherent Resolve).

Domestic operations/actions:

  • The armed forces’ explosive rescue service destroyed a total of 61 explosive devices across the country.
  • Benelux airspace is monitored 24/7 by Air Combat Command from Air Operations Control Station Nieuw Milligen. For security reasons, Dutch and Belgian F-16s are used alternately. At the moment, the task lies with the Netherlands.
  • The defense contributes to the reception of Ukrainian and Afghan refugees and asylum seekers from other countries. This takes place at Marine Etablissement Amsterdam, in Zeist, Groningen Zoutkamp and at Harskamp Military Ground in Ede.

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