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Feb 08. Two of the three frontline Tornado squadrons based at RAF Leuchars are to be merged—with the scrapping of 80 jobs. The amalgamation of 43 (Fighter) and 56 (Reserve) squadrons is part of the phasing out of the Tornado F3 force in preparation for its replacement with the Typhoon force. The 79 service personnel affected will be redeployed to other RAF units and the single civilian employee is to be redeployed at Leuchars. Trade unions are to be consulted before the merger takes place on April 22. However, the reduction in frontline squadrons at the Fife base is likely to be temporary as it is intended that it will eventually be home to three Typhoon squadrons. (Source: Google)

02 Feb 08. Poland ‘agrees’ to host US shield. Poland’s neighbour Russia is opposed to the US shield. Poland and the US have reached an agreement in principle to install a controversial American missile defence system on Polish soil. In return for hosting part of the shield, the US has said it will help bolster Poland’s air defences. (Source: BBC)

21 Jan 08. Attack Submarines: Reduction in Numbers. The Armed Forces’ Minister confirmed (21 Jan 08) that the number of attack submarines (SSN) is to be reduced from nine to eight at the end of 2008. The Minister declined to forecast the number of SSN for the next three years.
Comment: There will be only eight SSN when HMS SUPERB is decommissioned. The number is planned to remain at eight in 2009 (with ASTUTE replacing TRAFALGAR) and in 2010 (with AMBUSH replacing SCEPTRE). When TURBULENT leaves in 2011, the number of SSN will fall to seven. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0806, 04 Feb 08)

21 Jan 08. Destroyers: Reduction in Numbers. The Armed Forces’ Minister declined (21 Jan 08) to forecast the number of destroyers for the next three years, only saying that the number “may vary as the Type 45 destroyer steadily replaces the Type 42”.
Comment: The present eight Type 42 destroyers are planned to remain in service during 2008. Thereafter the planned pattern is: 2009 – six 42 & one 45; 2010 – five 42 & two 45; 2011- three 42 & four 45; 2012 – one 42 & five 45 and 2013 – six 45. Adding four Type 22 and 13 Type 23 frigates gives the total number of escorts, which is currently 25 but will fall to 24 in 2009 and then to 23 in 2012. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0806, 04 Feb 08)

30 Jan 08. Secretary of the Navy Donald C. Winter announced today the names of three Virginia class submarines — the Missouri, California and Mississippi. The selection of Missouri honors the continuous support of the military by the people of the “Show Me State,” and its leaders. Designated SSN 780, Missouri is the fifth ship of the United States Navy to be named in honor of the U.S. state. The last Missouri (BB 63), a U.S. Navy battleship, saw action in World War II, Korean War, and the 1991 Gulf War. Missouri was also the site where Fleet Adm. Chester Nimitz and Gen. Douglas MacArthur, and many other U.S. and Allied officers, accepted the unconditional surrender of the Japanese at the end of World War II on Sept. 2, 1945. The selection of California, designated SSN 781, honors the thousands of men and women from California who serve in today’s Armed Forces, and the millions of Californian veterans and their families. As home to major Naval and Marine Corps installations, the selection of California also reflects the tremendous support provided to the Navy and Marine Corps by countless communities across the Golden State. This will be the seventh ship to bear the name California. The selection of Mississippi, designated SSN 782, is dedicated to the state’s long standing tradition of shipbuilding in support of our nation’s defense. It also honors the indomitable spirit of the people of Mississippi who have made great strides in recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. This fighting spirit will be an inspiration to all sailors who embark aboard

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