The Solo Display Team (Dutch: Demo Team) is the aerobatics display team of the Royal Netherlands Air Force (Koninklijke Luchtmacht) and consists of three elements. The F-16 Solo Demo Team uses the fighter jet F-16 and the AH-64D Apache Solo Demo Team uses the helicopter AH-64 Apache. The PC-7 Solo Demo Team flies the low-wing tandem-seat training aircraft Pilatus PC-7, but is currently inactive.
The Apache Demo Team is based at Gilze-Rijen Air Base in the Dutch province of North Brabant and uses the four-blade, twin-engine Boeing AH-64D Apache attack helicopter . The team was formed in 2002 as a one-off to take part in the air show that was held that year at its airbase. However, the team kept performing at airshows in the following years and, in July 2005, won the “Sir Douglas Bader Trophy” at the Royal International Air Tattoo which took place at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire, United Kingdom, having performed the previous month at the air show held at their home base.The Apache Solo Display Team was inactive between 2005 and 2009 due to operational deployments but began to carry out demo flights again in 2010, the first of which took place at RAF Fairford during the Royal International Tattoo in July.
The Dutch government initially showed an interest in acquiring Apache helicopters in the late 1980s, where it stated that it may purchase as many as 52. A competition held in 1994 against the Eurocopter Tiger and the Bell AH-1 SuperCobra led to the Royal Netherlands Air Force ordering 30 AH-64D Apaches in 1995. Deliveries began in 1998 and ended in 2002. The RNLAF Apaches are equipped with the Apache Modular Aircraft Survivability Equipment (AMASE) self-protection system to counter infrared (IR) missile threats.
The RNLAF Apaches’ first deployment was in 2001 to Djibouti, Africa. They were also deployed alongside U.S. AH-64s in support of NATO peacekeeping forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In 2004, six Dutch AH-64s were deployed as part of the Netherlands contribution to Multinational force in Iraq to support the Dutch ground forces. The Apaches performed close combat support and display of force missions, along with providing reconnaissance information to ground forces. In February 2006, the Netherlands contribution to NATO forces in Afghanistan was increased from 600 to 1,400 troops and 6 AH-64s were sent in support.
In February 2018, the Netherlands requested that all its AH-64Ds to be remanufactured to the E configuration, along with 17 APG-78 fire control radar units.