Royal Netherlands Army (RNLA)
The Royal Netherlands Army works for peace and security in the Netherlands and abroad. The army is essential in this respect because, ultimately, peace and security are imposed on the ground. The army is a professional, well-trained organisation and therefore it can be deployed quickly and flexibly in the toughest of conditions.The army can be deployed on its own and jointly with the navy, air force and Marechaussee (military police). The Royal Netherlands Army is deployed both in the Netherlands and abroad for crisis-management operations, humanitarian assistance and combat operations.
Both for crisis management operations and for the general defence task of NATO territory, it is important that units can be deployed quickly. Where, when and how many military personnel need to be deployed is difficult to predict. Army personnel therefore receive the broadest possible training and exercises are conducted with all kinds of modern, high-quality equipment. In this way, a “tailor-made” unit can be assembled for any conflict situation.
The main tasks of the armed forces and thus of the Royal Netherlands Army are:
- contributing to peace, security and stability the world over;
- defending the territory of the Netherlands and that of NATO Allies;
- supporting civil authorities in upholding the law, providing disaster relief and humanitarian assistance, both nationally and internationally.
For the Army, it is becoming increasingly important to make a worldwide contribution to peace, security and stability by providing crisis management, humanitarian assistance or disaster response. The Royal Netherlands Army (RNLA) started publishing Army Doctrine Publications (ADPs) in 1996. In the development of this series, the RNLA also drew on the latest NATO doctrine and that of main Allies, and also opted for a Service-specific translation into Dutch. The Army often operates jointly with the Navy and the Air Force. For the past 50 years, the Army has worked closely with the armies of NATO allies - all the more so in recent years. Since August 1995, for instance, all the Army's combat units have been part of the joint German-Dutch (GE-NL) Army Corps, based in Münster, Germany.
Dutch army units operate increasingly in crisis areas outside NATO territory. Depending on the situation, the Army can deploy specialist units to provide humanitarian aid or respond to disasters. Their duties may include distributing food and medicine, providing technical or logistical aid or giving training in landmine clearance. Troops are also sent in groups or individually to monitor peace settlements and ceasefires. Dutch brigades and battalions take part in international missions to ensure that peace settlements and ceasefires are observed. Finally, the Army regularly provides troops and materiel to voluntary organisations at their request.
During the Cold War the Royal Netherlands Army (RNLA) was committed to two main tasks in the NATO context: participation in the defense of Western Europe against ground attacks across the northern plain of Europe from Poland through Germany, and ensuring the security of the territory of The Netherlands and those lines of communication crossing it which are needed by NATO. In the fulfillment of the first of these tasks, a Dutch army corps (the First Netherlands Army Corps) was assigned to the NATO Northern Army Group and was responsible for the defense of the North German Plain. This armor-heavy corps consisted of three mechanized divisions which included three armored brigades, six armored infantry brigades, and one infantry brigade for rear area security. The National Territorial Command had some active units and a large complement of reserves to provide for the security of the homeland and the lines of communication crossing it. Support units for the RNLA consisted of the National Logistics Command and its complement of depots and workshops, the Training Command with its training centers and training schools, the Communications Command, and the Medical Command, consisting mainly of mobilizable service units.
In 1984, the RNLA stepped up efforts to completely modernize its combat forces and is continuing implementation of a ten-year plan begun that year. For example, the First Netherlands Army Corps completed the replacement of half its tank force when 445 Leopard 11 tanks acquired from West Germany were integrated into its units. The last of the tanks joined the inventory in 1986. In addition, the replacement of the Dutch YPR-408 Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) with the new Dutch DAF YPR-765 Armored Infantry Fighting Vehicle (AIFV) also was completed. Artillery capabilities were being improved by an intensive modernization of 155mm and 8-in howitzers, the procurement of remotely piloted vehicles for long range target acquisition, and the addition of the Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS). One MLRS system was delivered to the RNLA in June 1986 for training and testing purposes, and FMS cases were signed in December 1986 for 21 additional systems. Also, anti-armor capabilities became a priority item for RNLA force planners. The purchase of TOW H missiles, initiation of an upgrade program for Dragon missiles, and proposed anti-armor/scout helicopters, would greatly increased RNLA anti-armor defenses.
On 18 May 2011, the last shot was fired by a Dutch Leopard tank at the Bergen-Hohne military firing range in Germany. The tanks are being phased out as a result of the financial cutbacks at the Ministry of Defence. The Netherlands held a farewell ceremony for their last 60 tanks on 18 May 2011. The Leopard 2A6 were to be sold, thus ending 90 years of history of tanks in the Netherlands. The first chariot was introduced in the Dutch army shortly after the First World War, and at the height of the Cold War, the Netherlands had about 1,000 units, which formed the backbone of the Dutch armed forces. After the end of the Cold War, the number was quickly reduced to the final number of 60 units.
The Combat Vehicle 90 (CV90) is the infantry fighting vehicle for the Royal Netherlands Army. The introduction of the CV9035NL, the Dutch version of the CV90, began in December 2008. Over time, the vehicle would replace the YPR PRI (Armored, Tracked Infantry) and the PRCO-B (Armored, Tracked Command version). The CV90 was developed and manufactured by the Swedish company BAE Systems Hägglunds (BSH). The planned life of type is 30 years. The Netherlands ordered 193 CV90 infantry fighting vehicles, and deliveries were completed by 2011.
The start of 2013 will see the introduction of the Boxer armoured wheeled vehicle to replace the remaining YPR armoured vehicles and the M-577 armoured tracked command vehicles. An important feature of the new vehicle is its modular system. Each vehicle consists of two parts: a standard ‘drive module’ (the base vehicle), upon which is mounted the mission-specific module. The mission module differs according to the Boxer version. The Boxer is highly mobile, has a large internal capacity and load capacity and provides good ballistic protection for the vehicle occupants. The first Boxer armored wheeled vehicles were delivered to the Royal Netherlands Armyat the start of 2013. These deliveries were the Cargo, Ambulance, and Driver Training Vehicle versions. They would be followed, in late 2013, by the Boxer Command Post and in 2015 by the Boxer Engineer Group Vehicle. The introduction of the Battle Damage Repair version was scheduled for 2016/2017.
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