20 Oct 06. Black Watch honoured for bravery. Black Watch troops have been on active service in Iraq. The Black Watch battalion is to be honoured for its bravery abroad by the people of Fife. Fife Council decided the battalion deserved the award for services to “safeguarding and maintaining peace”. It will be only the second time the Freedom of Fife has been granted, the first time to the late Jimmy Shand. (Source: BBC)
24 Oct 06. 800 Naval Air Squadron has now been declared Combat Ready by the Joint Force Harrier Command and ready to deploy to Afghanistan – a significant achievement for the Naval Squadron which has moved, recently from RNAS Yeovilton to RAF Cottesmore, and converted to GR 7 Harrier jet. The Naval Squadron will support the NATO force in Helmand Province as part of the UK’s commitment to assist the Afghanistan government to bring peace and stability to the region. The GR7 Harrier aircraft are seeing daily action, supporting NATO ground forces under attack from Taliban forces. 800 Naval Air Squadron will be the first Fleet Air Arm Squadron to fulfil this role and can expect to be supplemented by 801 Naval Air Squadron, as part of Joint Force Harrier. 800 NAS will be operating in both the Close Air Support role, armed with precision guided munitions and rockets, and the Reconnaissance role; both missions will be in support of coalition ground forces. (Source: MoD Defence Contracts Bulletin)
22 Oct 06. UK troops to get dedicated ward. Prince Charles talked to soldiers during his visit to Selly Oak Hospital. Injured British troops will be treated on a new military-managed ward at an NHS hospital, Tony Blair has revealed. Writing in the News of the World, Mr Blair said the new ward would be based at Birmingham’s Selly Oak Hospital. He ruled out reopening military hospitals because they cannot “match NHS specialised care and treatment”. The treatment of injured soldiers on civilian wards sparked a political row after reports that a soldier at Selly Oak was threatened by a Muslim visitor. At the time, the Ministry of Defence said it could not find any record of the incident but the News of the World launched an “Abandoned Heroes” campaign for a dedicated top-level military hospital. (Source: BBC)
24 Oct 06. Boeing and partner Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), as the Lead Systems Integrator for the U.S. Army’s Future Combat Systems (FCS) program, yesterday celebrated the opening of the Army’s Test Operation Complex at White Sands Missile Range (WSMR), N.M. The complex will support experimentation, test, training and integration activities for the Army’s Evaluation Brigade Combat Team (EBCT) — a unit tasked with testing and evaluating FCS technologies as they come online beginning in 2008.
20 Oct 06. Northrop Grumman Corporation’s Sperry Marine business unit is celebrating 50 years of manufacturing and engineering at its headquarters in Charlottesville, Va. The company held a special ceremony and open house this week to commemorate the event. Northrop Grumman Sperry Marine opened its doors in Charlottesville in 1956 as Sperry Piedmont Company. Since then, the organization has grown to include 1,455 employees worldwide including major engineering and support offices in New Malden, United Kingdom and Hamburg, Germany. About half of Sperry’s workforce is situated in Charlottesville.
17 Oct 06. Apache Helicopters: Availability. The Armed Forces’ Minister said (17 Oct 06) that, as at 1 Oct 06, 39 Apache were available for service and
13 airframes were undergoing maintenance. Comment: On 2 Mar 06, the Minister said that all three Apache Regiments would be “combat ready” by December 2008. The Army Air Corps Regiments concerned are numbered 3, 4 and 9, each of which will be established for 16 Apache. The remaining 19 aircraft are to be divided between: 10 for training at Middle Wallop, one for trials at Boscombe Down and eight to be held in reserve. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEW