HWIC 2020: Dutch Air Force, German Army officers train to become weapons instructors

Dutch Helicopter Weapon Instructor Course
German Army Tiger helicopters during HWIC 2020 exercise at Gilze-Rijen Air Base, Netherlands.

The HWIC (Helicopter Weapon Instructor Course) would take place at Gilze-Rijen Air Base in the two weeks from Monday October 5th until Thursday October 15th. 

This edition of the HWIC would be dedicated to the Special Operations Forces (SOF) operations of the Dutch Corps Commando Troops (KCT). During the HWIC SOF pilots and loadmasters of the Royal Netherlands Air Force and German Bundes HEER are trained to become weapons instructors. Helicopter crews train scenarios such as flying under increased threat. 

The Royal Netherlands Air Force would participate in the training with all types of helicopters of the DHC (Defense Helicopter Command) based at Gilze-Rijen Air Base (Apache, Cougar and Chinook). A number of NH90 helicopters and a single Tigre helicopter of the German Army (HEER) would also participate in this training. 

Dutch Helicopter Weapon Instructor Course

For this training, the units would practice at different locations in the Netherlands. In the first week, training took place at the Ginkelse Heide in Gelderland, with parts of the exercise taking place in the dark. It is very important for the special forces to train in the darkness, as most of their deployment will take place under these conditions. In the second week, the training became more complex and combined scenarios would be started. 

Dutch Helicopter Weapon Instructor Course

The second part of the exercise took place on the Leusderheide and the final exercise was to take place in the Rotterdam region. Various scenarios were trained at the latter location, such as the so-called “car blocking” in the HoekseWaard and landing on ships and boarding them in the port of Rotterdam. The helicopters would operate daily from Gilze-Rijen Air Base. 

Text: Joris van Boven Alex van Noije
Photos: Alex van Noije
Video: Alex van Noije

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