The Koninklijke Luchtmacht (Royal Netherlands Air Force/RNLAF) has unveiled a specially painted Boeing CH-47D Chinook to celebrate the 75th anniversary of 298 Squadron.
The helicopter – serial D-666 (c/n M3666, line number NL006) – was unveiled by the air arm on March 17. After receiving its special scheme, the aircraft was nicknamed ‘The Beast’ by the technicians of 980 Maintenance Squadron at Woensdrecht.
No 298 Squadron, which operates from Gilze-Rijen Air Base, first stood up on April 16, 1945. The service was planning to host a big celebration for the unit on its anniversary date but due to the ongoing spread of the COVID-19 virus, the event has been postponed.
The scheme features a large dragonfly on the left-hand side of the fuselage, accompanied by “75 Years 298 Sqn” lettering. The dragonfly is a symbol of the unit, and decorates its coat of arms. On the right-hand side of the fuselage, the same anniversary lettering can be found, supplemented by the image of a grizzly bear. On both sides of the rear rotor mast, stickers depict the anniversary coat of arms, along with the squadron’s formation year, the number 75 and all of the aircraft types it has operated over the years. The idea for the special scheme and its design came from Kerosene Creations’ Joroen van Veenendaal.
The squadron currently operates 17 Chinooks, comprising 11 CH-47Ds and six CH-47Fs. The CH-47D will be phased out and replaced by 14 new CH-47Fs, which will share commonality with the platforms employed by the US Army, featuring enhanced digital automatic flight controls, a Common Avionics Architecture System (CAAS) glass cockpit and advanced cargo handling capabilities. Follow the link to read more about the RNLAF’s new CH-47Fs, the first of which was delivered to the air arm on April 3.