The Dutch mission in Uruzgan province is focused on reconstruction, but building stuff in such a dangerous environment requires lots of security. Hence the heavy weapons at Kamp Holland near Tarin Kowt. When the camel dung hits the fan, the Quick Reaction Force races out in their armored personnel carriers while Apaches buzz overhead.
These are the D-model Apaches, but without the heavy Longbow radar, which was designed to spot large formations of enemy tanks and makes the choppers sluggish in hot and high environments. The Apaches’ main weapon in Afghanistan is the 30-millimeter cannon; sometimes at Kamp Holland you can hear the cannons’ low chatter as they hit targets on the nearby weapons range.
Despite its fearsome weaponry, the Apache is most useful as a surveillance platform. Dutch rules of engagement are very very strict, and in many cases the ground QRF chases suspected bad guys into an earthen hut without being able to positively identify them. A standoff ensues until an Apache appears overhead. With its sensitive infrared and electro-optical cameras, the chopper can peer into the huts, count bodies and weapons and usually give the troops on the ground the info they need to decide whether to open fire. This capability has prevented several attacks that might have resulted in civilian casualties, according to Dutch officers.