Netherlands Selects Airbus Caracal Helicopter to Replace Cougar Fleet

The Netherlands has procured 14 new H225M Caracal long-range tactical transport military rotorcraft from Airbus Helicopters.

The fleet will replace the country’s aging AS532 Cougar medium-weight multipurpose helicopter, in service for almost 30 years.

It will be deployed for special operations under the Royal Netherlands Air Force Defence Helicopter Command.

Alongside the aircraft, Airbus will provide new mission equipment and a temporary simulation capability to train aircrews for the Caracals.

Deliveries will begin in early 2028. The units will be stationed at Gilze-Rijen Air Base.

Meanwhile, an upgrade is being provided for 12 Cougar helicopters to extend their operational life until 2030.

Swedish Armed Forces H215M Cougar helicopter
Swedish Armed Forces H215M Cougar helicopter. Photo: Anthony PECCHI/ Airbus

Airbus H225M Caracal

The Caracal is a “combat-proven” twin-engine aircraft with a capacity for up to 28 seated soldiers and two aircrew, depending on user requirements.

Airbus offers the helicopter for troop transport, combat search and rescue, and casualty evacuation, similar to the company’s EC225 Super Puma civilian chopper.

Users of Caracal include the armed forces of France, Mexico, Brazil, and several Asian countries.

Caracals can operate from land and surface vessels in extreme environmental conditions and at night.

The rotorcraft is powered by two Makila 2A1 engines and a five-blade rotor for low vibration levels and has a range of 70 nautical miles (130 kilometers/81 miles).

In addition, the helicopter can be integrated with mounted machine guns, rocket launchers, aerial torpedoes, anti-ship and guided missiles, and a countermeasures suite.

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