25 Aug 06. Iraq: Court Martial of Seven Army Personnel. The MoD released (25 Aug 06) further information about the forthcoming court martial of those accused of the ill-treatment of Iraqi detainees between 13 and 15 Sep 03 and of the death of an Iraqi civilian on 15 Sep 03. The court martial is still due to start on 6 Sep 06 but there is now to be a pre-trial hearing on 5 Sep 06, also at the Bulford Court Centre.
Comment: The determination of the MoD to afford the trial maximum publicity continues to astonish.
Colonel J E Mendonca, former CO 1 QLR, Major M E Peebles, INT CORPS, and Warrant Officer M L Davies, INT CORPS are all “charged with negligently performing a duty”. The other four accused (a Sergeant, a Corporal, a Lance Corporal and a Private) face more serious charges. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0633, 04 Sep 06)
25 Aug 06. Galileo Navigation System: Funding Secured. The Trade and Industry Secretary announced (25 Aug 06) that the Government was to subscribe an additional €31m (£21m) to the European Space Agency’s (ESA) development of the Galileo programme. The extra funding was required as the costs of the In-Orbit Validation (IOV) Phase had risen from €1,100m to €1,500m (from £742m to £1,011m).
Comment: The costs of the Galileo IOV Phase are being shared by the European Union and by the ESA. The main ESA contributors are France, Germany, Italy and the UK. Within the UK, there has been considerable discussion as to whether the DTI or the MoD should pay for Galileo but the view is that “Galileo remains a civil system under civil control” (and so the DTI pays!). The total cost of the project is variously estimated at €3,200m and €3,400m (£2,157m and £2,292m). (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0633, 04 Sep 06)
28 Aug 06. British Military Supplies Depleting Quicker Than Expected: Report. British military forces in Afghanistan are using up missiles, rockets and spare parts at a faster rate than expected, The Daily Telegraph reported Aug. 28. The newspaper said one unnamed officer in Afghanistan predicted that the stocks of weapons and components that were meant to last until April next year, may be depleted “well before Christmas”. All eight British Apache helicopters are being flown on a daily basis, even though it was intended that only six should fly every day, the newspaper said. A number of them have been hit by Taliban shooters, but none have been seriously damaged. The defense ministry was given £1bn(€1.5bn, $1.9bn) for the Afghanistan mission, money that is being used up at a much faster pace than expected, according to The Daily Telegraph’s unnamed sources, and it may have to ask the Treasury for more money. The defense ministry disputed the claims, however, with a spokeswoman telling AFP: “There’s no problems with re-supply.” ”The force package in Afghanistan is a full and robust package which was asked for by commanders on the ground. They are content with the package.” ”Of course, its always kept under review.” Some 21 British soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan — 14 in combat — since the start of operations against the Taliban in November 2001 following the September 11 attacks on the United States. Some 4,000 British troops are currently in Helmand province, with the figure set to rise to around 4,500. A further 1,000 are in the capital Kabul and a few hundred are in the southern city of Kandahar. There are about 30,000 foreign troops from 30 countries in Afghanistan. Although the Taliban were ousted from power five years ago, supporters of the extremist movement have this year stepped up attacks on foreign and Afghan troops. (Source: Defense News/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, LONDON)
28 Aug 06. EDA Strives To Rein In Offsets. The European Defense Agency (EDA) is preparing to tackle a problem that has aggravated defense suppliers for years —industrial offsets — with a plan to restrict their application and thus reduce the overall cost of selling defense equipment and