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27 May 08. Iraq: OP TELIC. RFA Wave Knight took over from RFA Bayleaf as the ‘Ready Tanker’ in the Gulf. (MoD, 27 May 08.)
7 Armoured Brigade assumed responsibility for ‘overwatch’ in Multinational Division, South East, from 1 Jun 08, when 4 Mechanised Brigade’s Operational tour (OP TELIC 11) came to an end. (MoD, 27 & 29 May 08.)
Comment: The Commander of 4 Mechanised Brigade, Brigadier J R Free, concluded: “The deployment of US and UK Military Transition Teams alongside the Iraqi Army allowed their engagements with the militia to become increasingly successful.”. Various Brigade units and 12 Squadron RAF returned to their peace time bases on 30/31 May and 1 Jun 08. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS Issue 08/22, 2 Jun 08)

25 May 08. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. A Marine from the Armoured Support Company, Royal Marines, was killed on 25 May 08 when his Viking vehicle struck a mine in Helmand Province. UK deaths since the start of Operations in October 2001 thus rose to 97, of whom 62 have been classified as Killed in Action and nine as Died of Wounds. (MoD, 25 May 08.)
Comment: The Defence Secretary visited (25/26 May 08) Helmand Province, calling on Regional Command South in Kandahar and on HQ Task Force Helmand in Lashkar Gah. Mr Browne claimed that there was “a real sense of progress and optimism in Helmand and our troops are making a difference.”. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS Issue 08/22, 2 Jun 08)

30 May 08.)Kosovo: Operational Reserve Force (ORF). The 600-strong 2nd Bn The Rifles (2 RIFLES) Battle Group assumed its mission as the Kosovo Force (KFOR) ORF on 31 May 08. (MoD, 30 May 08.) During the 30-day deployment the Battle Group’s tasks are to include foot and vehicle patrols in support of the UN Interim Administration. Elements of the Battle Group deployed North of Mitrovica on 29 May 08.
Comment: The MoD anticipates that there could be “instability” on or around 15 Jun 08, when Kosovo’s constitution comes into force. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS Issue 08/22, 2 Jun 08)

04 Jun 08. MoD responds to NAO report on Chinook MK3 helicopters. Defence Minister Baroness Ann Taylor has today commented on a report published by the National Audit Office (NAO) into the MoD’s procurement of eight Chinook Mk3 helicopters for the RAF. Minister for Defence Equipment and Support, Baroness Taylor said, “The Chinook is the most capable support helicopter in Afghanistan.
Based on operational need, the reversion project will allow delivery of more Chinooks to theatre in the shortest time-frame. It is one of several steps being taken to increase helicopter lift capability for operations including the acquisition of new state of the art blades for Sea Kings. The total amount of flying time for all helicopters, including Chinooks, has increased by a third since March 2007.”
In early 2007, the operational imperative to provide additional helicopters to support operations was recognised and the decision was taken quickly to convert the Chinook Mk3 aircraft. The project remains on track in terms of time and budget and is just part of a package of measures that we are implementing to improve our helicopter lift capability on operations.
The NAO report acknowledges that:
* The RAF’s 40 Chinooks are the MoD’s most capable support helicopters especially in the demanding hot and high conditions of Afghanistan.
* The MoD’s decision to convert eight Mk3s to the current Mk2 standard means that these aircraft will be added to the fleet two years earlier than the Fix to Field programme would have allowed.
* The decision will result in a largely common cockpit across the Chinook fleet with improved operational flexibility and lower support costs.
* MoD is confident that these aircraft will be delivered by 2009-10.
* In 2007, the MoD took the necessary decisions rapidly, based on pressing operational need.
* MoD has equipped some Mk2 Chinooks to fly in more demanding operations in very low-light condit

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