05 Jun 06. Iraq: OP TELIC. The MoD “is engaged in Iraq in support of the wider UK Government’s objective of ensuring a stable, united and federal Iraq….”. (Ministerial Answer (MA), 5 Jun 06.) “The multinational forces in Iraq are there at the request of the Iraqi Government. The process of transferring security responsibility to the Iraqi authorities in Provinces and Cities across Iraq will begin shortly.” (MA, 5 Jun 06.) “The overall protection level afforded by the Land Rover Snatch vehicles was assessed in March 2005 as part of a number of ongoing assessments to ensure the suitability of a range of equipment used on current Operations.” (MA, 7 Jun 06.)
Comment: Two (unofficial) organisations have come to the fore in the past week, both reflecting the ‘malaise’ affecting the Armed Forces as OP TELIC drags on. The British Armed Forces Federation (www.baff.org.uk) seeks to establish an organisation which will challenge perceived failures by the chain of command. The five-week trial of a Coldstream Colour Sergeant and two Irish Guardsmen, which ended on 6 Jun 06 with their acquittal on manslaughter charges, added strength to the Federation’s case. Military Families Against the War (www.mfaw.org.uk) would appear to be a contradiction in terms, given that there is no longer conscription in the UK. However, MFAW lobbies for the ending of what it considers to be an illegal campaign. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0623, 12 Jun 06)
06 Jun 06. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. Troops from 3rd Bn The Parachute Regt and the Royal Gurkha Rifles were attacked during a counter-insurgency Operation in the North of Helmand Province on 4 Jun 06. (News Item, 6 Jun 06.) Five Taliban were reportedly killed but this number was subsequently increased (by the BBC) to 21. A UK-led Provincial Reconstruction Team was established in Helmand on 1 May 06 and it has been working closely with the Provincial Government and the Ministry of Interior. (MA, 8 Jun 06.)
Comment: Almost no Operational information from Afghanistan (or Iraq) is being released by the MoD. The meeting of NATO Defence Ministers in Brussels on 8 Jun 06 confirmed plans to expand the Alliance’s presence in Southern Afghanistan. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0623, 12 Jun 06)
09 Jun 06. Franco-British Summit: Defence Aspects. The Prime Minister travelled to France for talks with President Chirac, on the occasion of the 28th Franco-British Summit. The main topics for discussion were: Energy, Climate Change, Development, Security and Defence, International Issues and Europe. Security and Defence covered:-
* Co-operation on aircraft carriers, with the aim that the next phase of the programme could be launched in 2007.
* Establishment of a working group to consider ways to enhance co-operation in Defence equipment programmes.
* Supporting the establishment of a network of African military training schools.
Comment: During his Press conference, the President said “….the decision that has almost been finalised to build a Franco-British aircraft carrier….and we have reason to believe that at the beginning of next year a final decision will be taken on the building of this aircraft carrier.” (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0623, 12 Jun 06)
16 Jun 06. Speculation that the Astute programme is out of control due to rising costs and new requirements is wide of the mark BAE SYSTEMS confirmed today. The Company told BATTLESPACE that there are no plans to re-scope the command and control system on Astute. Commitment to further boats (in addition to the 3 already in build) is not needed until early 2007 but this is dependent on prices being agreed for Boats 2 and 3. The joint MoD/BAE Systems pricing activity on these boats is progressing to plan. It would therefore be inappropriate at this time to comment on ongoing contract negotiations which are of course commercially sensitive.
16 Jun 06. Ross Finnie, MSP who was launching the £8 million vessel f