Falcon Autumn; German NH-90s at Deelen AB
From 24 September until 12 October 2018 the large scale exercise Falcon Autumn was held in the Netherlands. Approximately 2200 Soldiers and supporting personnel participated in the exercise. The soldiers were supported by 2 Belgian F-16s, 2 German Tornados, 1 Dutch C-130 and 1 German C-160, all operating from their home bases. 16 helicopters participated and flew from Deelen AB, north of Arnhem, the Netherlands.
Deelen AB has a rich history which goes back as far as 1913, when the base was established. In WWII Deelen was a Luftwaffe airfield. After the war various aircraft of The Royal Netherlands Air Force were stationed at Deelen. First the RF-84F Thunderflash and later the lighter aircraft, such as the DHC-2 Beaver, Piper J-3 and Raven, Alouette and Bölkow helicopters. After the Cold War, in 1995 the base was downgraded to “Military Aviation Site” and was only used for helicopter training. None of these helicopters were based at Deelen. In 2007 it was decided that Deelen would be used more often as a training site to exonerate Gilze-Rijen AB. The increased importance of Deelen resulted in it once again receiving the designation of Air Base.
The participating helicopters were a mix of Dutch Apaches and Chinooks, and German NH-90s. Although eight NH-90s were stationed at Deelen, only six participated in Falcon Autumn. The NH-90s supported the “Division Schnelle Kräfte” from the German Army. The units involved were Transporthubschrauberregiment 10 from Fassberg AB and Transporthubschrauberregiment 30 from Niederstetten AB. On Friday 12 October all the participating helicopters left Deelen AB to return to their home bases.