29 Mar 07. Iraq: OP TELIC. From 1 Jan 06 to 15 Mar 07, 148 personnel were categorised as Wounded in Action and 815 were aeromedically evacuated from Iraq. (MoD, 29 Mar 07.) Between 1 and 15 Mar 07, the figures were six and 22.
It is hoped to transfer responsibility for security to Iraqi control in Maysan Province in the next few months and in Basrah in the second half of 2007. (Foreign Secretary, 23 Mar 07.) The MoD presented “evidence” to show that the seven Royal Marines and eight sailors from HMS CORNWALL were operating in Iraqi waters when they were seized by Iranian authorities on 23 Mar 07. (MoD, 28 Mar 07.) The Foreign Secretary made a Statement to the House of Commons about the Service personnel detained by Iranian Forces. (28 Mar 07, Hansard, Column 1499 et seq.) Maysan Province will be handed over to Iraqi control shortly. UK Force levels should reduce to below 5,000 in the second half of 2007. (Ministerial Answer (MA), 28 Mar 07.)
Comment: 15 Service personnel from HMS CORNWALL, including a female Leading Seaman, remained in Iranian custody. It is a depressing observation that the UK Services are now so ‘politically correct’ that the mother of a three-year-old finds herself in the front line. There is much to be shame-faced about. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0714, 02 Apr 07)
29 Mar 07. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. From 1 Jan 06 to 15 Mar 07, 118 personnel were categorised as Wounded in Action and 343 were aeromedically evacuated from Afghanistan. (MoD, 29 Mar 07.) Between 1 and 15 Mar 07, the figures were
10 and 26. During Summer 2007, UK Forces in Afghanistan will increase from around 6,300 to around 7,700. The current planning assumptions are that these Forces are committed until 2009. (MA, 26 Mar 07.) There have been no requests for the deployment of main battle tanks in Afghanistan. (MA, 28 Mar 07.) The 0.5 calibre heavy machine gun and ammunition is operating efficiently in all theatres of operation. (MA, 28 Mar 07.) There are no plans to deploy Eurofighter [Typhoon] aircraft to Afghanistan. (MA, 28 Mar 07.) The acquisition costs of the Desert Hawk mini unmanned aerial vehicles deployed to Afghanistan were around £1.8m. (MA, 29 Mar 07.) The Chancellor of the Exchequer visited UK Service personnel in Afghanistan on 30 Mar 07.
Comment: A Reuters story (27 Mar 07) that NATO aircraft had killed 60 innocent Afghans was refuted by HQ ISAF (29 Mar 07). (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0714, 02 Apr 07)
30 Mar 07. Warship deal to secure Scots jobs. The government is poised (sic. Ed. Please note ‘poised’) to give the go-ahead for the building of two aircraft carriers which ministers say will secure thousands of Scottish jobs. The £3bn order is set to cause a political row, coming just weeks before the Holyrood elections. The warships will be built in sections at a number of yards throughout the UK including BAE’s Govan facility on the Clyde with final assembly at Rosyth. Ministers hope to be able to make the announcement within the next week. At 65,000 tons each, the two aircraft carriers will be the largest warships ever constructed in the UK. The orders are tied to increased consolidation within the defence industry. (Source: BBC)
BATTLESPACE Comment: These announcements should be treated with care as possible electoral hype prior to the Scottish Elections. The failure to agree the BAE/VT tie up in warships may be a sign that all is not well with the CVF Programme.
30 Mar 07. GAO Rejects Further Protests on CSAR-X. A Government Accountability Office (GAO) ruling Thursday denied the remaining industry protest points in the U.S. Air Force’s combat search-and-rescue helicopter contract. “By decision of March 29, GAO has denied all of the additional arguments raised by Sikorsky and LMSI, finding that none furnished an additional basis for sustaining the protests,” the GAO said in a news release. Sikorsky and Lockheed Martin protested when the contract was awarded to Boeing