14 Apr 05. Defence Aviation Repair Agency (DARA): ‘Superhangar’ Opened. The First Minister of Wales formally opened () the £77m ‘Superhangar’ which had been built for DARA. The 65,000 square metre hangar can accommodate over 50 jet aircraft at any one time and is one of the most modern facilities in the UK. Comment: The ‘Superhangar’ has also been known as the Red Dragon project, which was meant to form the hub of an aviation centre of excellence. The Armed Forces’ Minister indicated to Members of Parliament, in February 2005, that there was no strategic need for DARA to remain in Government ownership. Morgan Stanley is advising the MoD on the way ahead for DARA. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 05/15, 18 Apr 05)
01 Apr 05. RAF Brize Norton: Runway Repairs. Brize Norton is to be closed for four months from November 2005, in order that runway repairs can be carried out. Transport and tanker aircraft normally stationed at Brize Norton are to be temporarily moved to the US Air Force base at RAF Fairford or to RAF Lyneham. VC10 and Tristar aircraft (10, 101 & 216 Sqn) are to operate from Fairford, as will MoD-chartered aircraft. The four C-17A Globemasters (99 Sqn) are to move to Lyneham. Comment: Fairford is the site for the annual Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT); to be held in 2005 on Sat/Sun 16/17 Jul (Tel: 0870-758 1918 or www.airtattoo.com). (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 05/15, 18 Apr 05)
01 Apr 05. Maritime Reconnaissance: Squadron Disbanded. As part of the reduction in maritime reconnaissance, 206 Squadron was disbanded on 1 Apr 05 at
RAF Kinloss. Nimrod MR2 continue to be operated by 120 and 201 Squadrons and the Operational Conversion Unit, 42 (Reserve) Squadron. Comment: The Nimrod MR2 fleet at Kinloss has been reduced from 21 aircraft and 31 crews to 16 aircraft and 22 crews. The MR2 aircraft are due to be replaced by about 12 MRA4 from 2009. Kinloss is to remain as the Nimrod base until at least 2013. [MR indicates ‘maritime reconnaissance’ and MRA ‘maritime reconnaissance and attack’.] (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 05/15, 18 Apr 05)
12 Apr 05. New Special Forces Regiment: Clarification. The formation of a new Special Forces Regiment, the Special Reconnaissance Regiment (SRR), was announced by the Defence Secretary on 5 Apr 05. A MoD spokesman subsequently added that the SRR was separate from the Special Forces Support Battalion which had been announced on 16 Dec 04. Comment: On 16 Dec 04 the Defence Secretary announced the creation of a tri-Service ‘Ranger’ unit which was to be dedicated to Special Forces support. The 1st Bn The Parachute Regiment was to be removed from the Line Infantry and its manpower used as the core of the unit.
The new SRR is a single-battalion Regiment: the very type of organisation being abolished by the Chief of the General Staff’s Future Infantry Structure (FIS)! The SRR cap badge depicts a Corinthian helmet in front of a Special Forces sword, surmounting a scroll stating ‘Reconnaissance’. (See: BATTLESPACE UPDATE Vol.7 ISSUE 15, 15th April 2005, UK stands up new Special Forces regiment)
(Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 05/15, 18 Apr 05)
21 Apr 05. Roush Technologies, the full-service vehicle engineering group, is to restructure its European organisation to respond to shifts within the automotive sector and changes in its core customer requirements. Roush’s facility in Warwick, which was created directly to support a number of mainstream automotive manufacturing operations in the immediate area, is to close by September 2005. Run-off programmes are to be transferred to Roush’s Brentwood, Essex facility, into which the organisation will now consolidate its UK activities, also increasing efficiency and adding considerable capability. In addition, the move will strengthen Roush’s ability to support its now rapidly developing world market activities – which have followed the company’s considerable success in recent years in broaden