RFA Wave Knight hosts VIP visit from Netherlands Armed Forces

RFA Wave Knight recently welcomed on board two VIP’s from the Netherlands Armed Forces to witness aviation operations

Commodore Polet, Commanding Officer Netherlands Defence Helicopter Command and Air Commodore Steur, Director of Operations Royal Netherlands Air Force, embarked Wave Knight in a Dutch Naval Variant NH90 in order to witness the interoperability between the airframe and the ship.

It was the first time an NH90 has been received on Wave Knight, so the flight deck team were instructed by the air crew on the different lashing points available on the airframe.

This was well received by both the ship’s staff and visiting personnel, enabling a seamless embarkation during future combined operations between the two NATO allies.

Cdre Polet and Cdre Steur were greeted by Wave Knight Commanding Officer, Captain Robert Anders RFA and, after the initial pleasantries, were given a tour of the British Fast Fleet Tanker.

Aviation operations were observed from the Bridge, the Operations Room, and the Hanger to provide a full picture of the wide range of facilities available to visiting air crew and the maintenance infrastructure on board this very capable unit.

This is an example of international interoperability and the maritime capabilities that the United Kingdom possesses. I have never worked with the NH90 before, but it is apparent that it is a very capable and manoeuvrable aircraft.

Capt Anders, RFA

During the ship’s tour, Cdre Polet revealed that he had previously carried out operations with another RFA ship – RFA Olwen. Olwen’s bell takes pride of place in the Officers’ lounge on board Wave Knight and Cdre Polet was quick to recount his stories of flying with Olwen in days past.

The tour was completed with an introduction to the on-watch Bridge team, and the hand over of a ship’s crest and embroidered Wave Knight caps presented by Capt Anders.

He commented “Over the past 4 months Wave Knight has worked with units from the USA, France, Norway, Germany, Holland, Denmark and the United Kingdom. This is an example of international interoperability and the maritime capabilities that the United Kingdom possesses.

"I have never worked with the NH90 before, but it is apparent that it is a very capable and manoeuvrable aircraft.  It was good to have Air Commodore Steur on board, as he didn’t have a maritime background and the visit was a really good acquaint of the maritime component and how it can influence air operations."

Whilst the VIP’s were being given a tour of the ship, the air crew and ship’s company conducted deck landing training (DLTs) in order to gain as much experience working together as possible. The opportunity was also used to assist with on board training, with visual, ship controlled, and helicopter controlled approaches completed successfully.

On departure, the visiting pilots treated the ships company to a farewell wave as they flew past level with the Bridge Wing then, displaying their aircraft’s impressive manoeuvrability, conducted a tight turn across the bow to give the crew another wave through the opposite Bridge window before returning to RNAS Culdrose.