19 Mar 14. UK military hands over additional two MOBs to Afghan Forces. The UK Armed Forces has handed over control of two additional main operating bases (MOBs) in Helmand province to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). The handover of Lashkar Gah MOB and Patrol Base (PB) Lashkar Gah Durai, means that UK forces now only control two bases, from a peak of 137. The UK has also closed MOB Price, which previously served as home to Danish armed forces and was the UK’s largest forward location for majority of Operation Herrick. MOB Lashkar Gah served as the headquarters of UK military forces in Afghanistan from 2006 until August 2013, while PB Lashkar Gah Durai commanded an important junction in Helmand. UK Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said: “The handover and closure of bases across Helmand underlines the progress UK forces have made to increase security and stability across the province, and to build up the capability of the Afghan forces who will carry that work forward. Task Force Helmand commander brigadier James Woodham said: “The fact that we are no longer required to operate from these bases is a sign of the progress made by Afghan forces delivering security for their own people. “While the Afghans are firmly in the lead, UK personnel will continue to serve in Helmand throughout this year supporting the Afghan security forces where necessary.” Only Camp Bastion, which remains the main base for British soldiers, and Observation Post Sterga 2 currently remain under UK control. (Source: army-technology.com)
16 Mar 14. Eurocopter Southern Africa Ltd. (ESAL) says it plans to establish a permanent base in Kenya to conduct maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) on all Airbus helicopters in Africa and parts of the Middle East, as the company anticipates growing force modernization requirements in sub-Saharan Africa. The company, formerly Eurocopter, has recorded 35 percent growth in business in southern Africa since 2010, as countries in the region have increased investments in military aircraft, airborne law enforcement and civil emergency response capabilities. In recent years, the company has supplied the EC145 helicopter to the Namibian Police Service, the EC135 to the Lesotho Defense Force’s Air Wing and a number of older Eurocopter models to the Botswana Defense Force, which are reportedly due for systems upgrades or replacement. Arnaud Montalvo, CEO of ESAL, said the company’s move to Kenya is a response to a boom in the country’s civil aviation sector and the government’s drive to strengthen its military, law enforcement and conservation agencies, offering numerous sales opportunities. (Source: Defense News)
12 Mar 14. Saab expands its African footprint. Saab is expanding its presence on the African continent and has recently opened an office in Gaborone, Botswanato further this goal. Saab, with its focus on military defence and civil security, has always made it clear that one of the company’s main goals is to grow and break into the Sub-Saharan region. With the growing economy in Africa this expansion has been made all the more important. This is also in line with Saab’s establishment of its ‘Market Area Concept’ which consolidates the markets in which the company is active. Saab is now represented in South Africa, Kenya and Botswana in Sub Saharan Africa and is looking at other African countries to have Saab representation.
17 Mar 14. PLAN commissions Type 056 corvette into North Sea fleet. The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) commissioned the Jiangdao (Type
056)-class guided missile corvette Weihai at an undisclosed naval base on 15 March. The vessel, with pennant number 590, will be inducted into the PLAN’s North Sea Fleet, where it will assume anti-submarine and anti-ship patrols. The vessel displaces 1,500 tons and can achieve a top speed of 25 kt. Weihai is armed with an eight-cell launcher for FL-3000N short-range surface-to-air missiles, four launchers fo