First Dutch AH-64E arrives at Gilze-Rijen

The first AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopter for the Royal Netherlands Air Force’s (RNLAF’s) No 301 Squadron landed at Gilze-Rijen Air Base – the unit’s home-base – for the first time on March 14.

Prior to its arrival at Gilze-Rijen, the gunship (Q-37) initially visited Gebied Laag Vliegen V (GLV-V; Low Flying Area 5) – which is located on the Oirschotse Heide to the west of Eindhoven Air Base – before it was subsequently welcomed to its new home-base with a traditional water cannon salute.

The first AH-64E(V6) Apache Guardian (Q-37) for the RNLAF’s No 301 Squadron taxis to the flightline at Gilze-Rijen Air Base for the first time after receiving a traditional water cannon salute following its arrival on March 14.
The first AH-64E(V6) Apache Guardian (Q-37) for the RNLAF’s No 301 Squadron taxis to the flightline at Gilze-Rijen Air Base for the first time after receiving a traditional water cannon salute following its arrival on March 14. Sander Smit

The new AH-64E Version 6 (V6) was one of the first two Apache Guardians (along with Q-38) that were airfreighted to Logistics Center Woensdrecht – which is located at Woensdrecht Air Base – by a USAF C-17A Globemaster III on December 7, 2023, where the new attack helicopters were assembled and underwent the necessary post-delivery maintenance procedures.

The Netherlands has a total of 28 AH-64E(V6) Apache Guardians on order, which have been acquired to replace the RNLAF’s ageing AH-64D Apache Longbow gunships, which entered operational service in 1998. The first six AH-64Es (Q-31 to Q-36) were delivered to the RNLAF’s No 302 Squadron at Robert Gray Army Airfield – a part of Fort Cavazos (formerly known as Fort Hood) – in Texas for training purposes. The remaining gunships are expected to be delivered to the RNLAF by the end of 2025.