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NEWS IN BRIEF

NEWS IN BRIEF

EUROPE

10 Sep 07. Iraq: OP TELIC. “Protection of our Forces in Iraq is an extremely high priority….” (Ministerial Answer (MA), 10 Sep 07.)
The tour of The King’s Royal Hussars’ Battle Group is being cut short and approximately 250 men will return to the UK during the next four weeks. As previously announced, numbers in Iraq are planned to reduce to 5,000. (MoD, 10 Sep 07.)
Accommodation in the Contingency Operating Base at Basrah Airport is “protected by thick bastions and block walls and we are working on a huge project to improve the protection”. (MoD, 11 Sep 07.)
Part of the UK’s mission in Iraq is to provide support to the Iraqi Department of Border Enforcement. (MoD, 12 Sep 07.)
The Prime Minister reiterated the UK’s position on Iraq, following President Bush’s announcement of the start of troop reductions. The Prime Minister repeated that he intended to make a more detailed statement after the return of Parliament. (MoD, 14 Sep 07.) [Parliament returns on 8 Oct 07.]
Comment: The MoD has admitted (14 Sep 07) that the number of Iraqis who have worked for UK Forces since 2003 and who may have a claim to assistance “could be at least 15,000”. The MoD, therefore, concludes that it needs “to consider the options carefully”!(Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0736, 17 Sep 07)

08 Sep 07. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. A Sergeant and a Private from 2nd Bn The Mercian Regiment were killed during a heavy firefight South of Garmsir on 8 Sep 07. UK deaths since the start of Operations in November 2001 thus rose to 78, of whom 53 have been classified as Killed in Action and two as Died of Wounds sustained in action. (MoD, 8 Sep 07.)
The NATO-led ISAF mission in Afghanistan currently consists of approximately 36,000 troops. (MA, 10 Sep 07.)
Members of 208 Field Hospital helped in the treatment of civilians and Afghan National Policemen after a suicide bomber attacked in Gereshk on 10 Sep 07. (MoD, 11 Sep 07.)
The Complex Rehabilitation and Amputee Unit at Headley Court became fully operational on 1 Jun 06, since when it has treated 24 casualties from Iraq and 12 from Afghanistan. (MA, 12 Sep 07.)
The most recent Hercules to be lost was identified as a C-130K which had “experienced a heavy landing” near Kabul on 24 Aug 07. Eight people were on board the aircraft but none had been injured.
(RAF News, 14 Sep 07.)
Comment: Six members of NATO’s Defence and Security Committee visited Afghanistan from 2 to 7 Sep 07. The delegation concluded “that perhaps the central political/strategic problem facing NATO in Afghanistan was the absence of a well-defined strategic vision for its presence there.” The delegation called upon NATO to “undertake a fundamental examination and re-definition of its strategic vision for Afghanistan….”. Additional human and financial resources would need to be provided. (Which NATO members were expected to provide these resources was not stated.) (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0736, 17 Sep 07)

14 Sep 07. Airborne Stand-Off Radar (ASTOR): Initial Exercise. RAF News (14 Sep 07) reports that 5 Squadron RAF has been operating a tactical ground station from the L3 Communications integrated systems facility at Greenville, in Texas, since early June 2007 (EX MAPLE STAR). Personnel from all three Services are involved.
Comment: The ASTOR system consists of five Sentinel R1 (modified Global Express) aircraft and eight ground stations. Two of the aircraft, ZJ 691 and ZJ 692, are involved in EX MAPLE STAR. The first aircraft, ZJ 690, was handed over to 5 Squadron in Waddington on 6 Jun 07 but it now looks as though the fifth will not be in RAF operation until early 2008. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0736, 17 Sep 07)

14 Sep 07. British Army ISTAR capabilities in southern Iraq were significantly boosted in mid-June when Hermes 450 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) began operating in the region. Thales UK was awarded the Urgent Operational Requirement (UOR) contract by

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