21 May 07. Iraq: OP TELIC. A Corporal from 4th Bn The Rifles died on 21 May 07 as a result of injuries sustained during an attack on his patrol in Basrah City. (MoD, 22 May 07.) UK deaths since the start of hostilities thus rose to 149.
Since 2003, three balloons and 33 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) have been lost in Iraq. 38 UAV have been damaged beyond repair over the same period. (Ministerial Answer (MA), 21 May 07.) Basrah still suffers from violence, mainly between Shia groups seeking political or economic advantage although many attacks are aimed at Coalition Forces. (MA, 21 May 07.) No UK fatalities from roadside bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan have been directly attributed to inadequately protected vehicles. (MA, 22 May 07.) There have been some 87 reported accidents in Iraq with Land Rovers “overturning without first colliding”. At least 22 of these incidents involved ‘Snatch’ Land Rovers and two involved the WMIK (Weapon-Mount Installation Kit) variant. (MA, 24 May 07.)
Comment: Distressing reports of mounting casualties among private contractors (20/21 May 07) and among the civilian population (24/25 May 07) were received.
Nine US naval vessels, including two aircraft carriers, sailed through the Straits of Hormuz early on 23 May 07. About 17,000 US personnel and 140 aircraft are due to exercise in the Gulf during “the next few weeks”.(Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0721, 28 May 07)
21 May 07. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. A Lance Corporal from 1st Bn The Royal Anglian Regiment died on 20 May 07 as a result of a firearms accident at the British base in Sanjin. (MoD, 21 May 07.) A soldier from 1st Bn Grenadier Guards died on 26 May 07 following an overnight Operation in Garmsir. (MoD, 26 May 07.) UK deaths since the start of Operations in November 2000 thus rose to 56.
There are around 130 ‘Snatch’ Land Rovers and 140 WMIK Land Rovers deployed with UK Forces in Southern Afghanistan. There have been 13 reported accidents with Land Rovers “overturning without first colliding”. At least three of these incidents involved ‘Snatch’ Land Rovers and one the WMIK variant.
The recently completed Relief in Place involved the movement of over 10,300 passengers and over 1,000 tonnes of airfreight. (DE&S News, May 2007.)
Comment: The MoD has classified the causes of the 56 deaths: 33 were Killed in Action, of whom two died of wounds. The remaining 23 died as a result of illness, non-combat injuries or accidents. During a visit to the US, the Defence Secretary urged (24 May 07) the United Nations “to take a lead
strategic role in Afghanistan”. (It is not clear whether the Defence Secretary was signalling NATO’s failure in Afghanistan.) (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0721, 28 May 07)
30 May 07. The use of the private finance initiative to acquire a fleet of air refuelling tankers for the Royal Air Force has delayed the acquisition of the aircraft and increased the cost, according to a senior executive of the company building the aircraft. The widely criticised initiative seeks to transfer the risks associated with public sector projects to the private sector in part or in full. The contract for the air tanker – estimated to be worth £12bn – has been described as the largest PFI. The comments were made last week to the Commons defence committee by Francisco Fernández Sáinz, the head of the military transport aircraft division at EADS, the European aerospace and defence company which leads the consortium building the tanker. In a rare public statement from an industrial participant on why the tanker project had become bogged down by years of delays, Mr Fernández Sáinz – who retires on July 1 – said the process of developing a PFI contract was “too long”. Asked if it was an expensive method of acquisition, he said: “It is an expensive way . . . but it is difficult to say to a country that this is wrong or this is not right.” The RAF needs the new tankers to replace its ageing fleet of VC-10 and Tri