Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) has grounded its fleet of AH-64 Apache Attack helicopter after discovering a problem with the tail rotor, the service announced.
The defect was reported by the the Defense Helicopter Command (Defensie Helikopter Commando, DHC) after a maintenance work. The exact cause of the problem and its consequences are not known and is currently being investigated, said a statement released by RNLAF.
RNLAF took delivery of its first Apache helicopter in 1998. The service currently operates 28 Apaches, out of which 20 are stationed at the Gilze-Rijen Air Base in the province of Noord-Brabant while 8 are in the United States for flight instruction and training purpose.
Last year, the U.S. State Department approved a Foreign Military Sale (FMS) to the Netherlands of items and services to support the upgrade/remanufacture of AH-64D Block II Apache attack helicopters to the AH-64E configuration for an estimated cost of $1.191 billion.