Denmark has borrowed several unmanned aircraft from the Dutch armed forces. Because of spare parts supply problems within the Danish army, Denmark has been given two so-called Raven systems – each consisting of three unmanned aircraft and a ground station – from the Netherlands. The systems will be borrowed for half a year, when the Danish supply problems are expected to be resolved.
“Currently, all our Raven systems are being used in Afghanistan,” Flemming Diehl, a spokesman for the Danish Defence Acquisition and Logistics Organisation, told The Copenhagen Post. “We had an urgent need for these Raven systems due to a lack of spare parts.”
The Danish armed forces use these unmanned aircraft in Afghanistan for surveillance. With the Raven, air observation can be carried out from distances up to 10 km. During the flight, the images from the aircraft's cameras are sent to the ground station where they can be stored and processed.
“As all of Denmark’s available Ravens are currently being used in Afghanistan, we can’t use them in Denmark for training,” Diehl said.
According to Diehl, it is not uncommon for ally countries to trade their equipment. “We have a really good relationship with our allies,” he said. “As the Netherlands uses the same Raven systems, we have asked them if we could borrow them.”
The Dutch Ministry of Defence said it was happy with the deal.
“The loaning of the Ravens is a next step in the ministry’s goal of international cooperation among allies,” it states on its website. “Not only because of the large financial benefits, but also because of operational scale economy and specialisation opportunities.”
Since 2002, Denmark has gradually increased its military engagement in Afghanistan. Currently, the Danish contribution counts approximately 720 persons. The main part of the force is a training contingent in support of the Afghan security forces and a contingent in a battle group, which has been deployed to the British-led Task Force Helmand in the Helmand Province of southern Afghanistan.