Dutch Air Force grounds all Apache helicopters over tail rotor “defect”

An AH-64 Apache from the Dutch Air Force, flown by Major Roland “Wally” Blankenspoor and Captain Paul ‘Wokkel’ Webbink, shows off during an exhibition at the 2011 Luchtmachtdagen.
An AH-64 Apache from the Dutch Air Force, flown by Major Roland “Wally” Blankenspoor and Captain Paul ‘Wokkel’ Webbink, shows off during an exhibition at the 2011 Luchtmachtdagen.. (Photo: Luchtmachtdagen 2011 Royal Netherlands Air Force / Archangel12 / Wikimedia Commons)

The Netherlands entire contingency of 28 Apache helicopters was grounded due to an apparent “defect” in the tail rotor, the Ministry of Defense announced on Wednesday. The problem was discovered during maintenance work, according to the ministry’s Defense Helicopter Command.

“Shutting down flight programs is a common measure for this type of observation,” the ministry said in a statement. The nature of the problem and its effects were under investigation and not revealed.

The Royal Netherlands Air Force has 20 AH-64 Apaches stationed at the Gilze-Rijen Air Base in the province of Noord-Brabant. Another eight helicopters are in the United States and used for flight instruction and training exercises.

The Netherlands first took delivery of Apache helicopters in 1998. That is the same year that production of the AH-64 Apache helicopters was handed over to Boeing, which took over the project from McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Systems.

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