The Royal Netherlands Air Force has decommissioned 14 Eurocopter AS532 Cougar utility helicopters as part of the government’s plan to reduce defence spending by €1bn over the next four years.

In addition to the utility helicopters, the air force will also reduce its number of F-16s from 87 to 68 and will disband two ground installation defence platoons.

The 17 Cougar transport helicopters will be totally scrapped to introduce six CH-47F Chinooks and 20 NH90, and will retain the third DC-10 into service.

The Air Force will also remove one of four Patriot batteries from service.

The government is reducing spending by €18bn, of which, €635m is required to be saved by the Ministry of Defence in the wake of the global financial crisis.