NEWS IN BRIEF
05 Jun 08. Iraq: OP TELIC. From 1 Jan 06 to 15 May 08, 314 personnel were categorised as Wounded in Action and 1,469 were aeromedically evacuated. (MoD, 5 Jun 08.) From 1 to 15 May 08, the figures were two and 25.
“….there is good reason to believe that a significant proportion of the equipment and armaments being used by insurgents against UK Forces in Basrah Province is of Iranian origin or has been transited through Iran.” (Ministerial Answer (MA), 2 Jun 08.)
No private military security contractors have been employed to help secure military facilities. A £1.1m contract was placed with Armour Group for the protection of two vacant UN compounds between 1 Jul and 31 Aug 07. (MA, 4 Jun 08.)
Comment: Following an announcement by the Australian Prime Minister that the majority of his Country’s Forces were to be withdrawn from Iraq, the Chiefs of the Australian and British Armies issued a joint ‘Order of the Day’ on 1 Jun 08. The Chiefs “reflected on the historical tradition of the two Armies working together and what has been achieved in Iraq”.(Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0823, 09 June 08)
09 Jun 08. Iraq troops decision ‘this year’. The final withdrawal of British troops from Iraq could be announced by the end of the year, the BBC has learned. Discussions have begun about forces pulling out of the country – if the security situation continues to improve as it has in recent months. Ministers are under pressure from the military to release the 4,000 troops who are currently serving in Iraq while pressures are mounting in Afghanistan. Previous plans to reduce troop numbers to 2,500 were put on hold in March. This followed a bout of violence dubbed the “battle of Basra”. (Source: BBC)
05 Jun 08. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. From 1 Jan 06 to 15 May 08, 362 personnel were categorised as Wounded in Action and 1,036 were aeromedically evacuated. (MoD, 5 Jun 08.) From 1 to 15 May 08, the figures were seven and 31.
As at 1 May 08, there were about 400 Royal Engineer posts established in Helmand Province. (MA, 2 Jun 08.)
“….the insurgents continue to pose a threat through improvised explosive devices, suicide bombers and opportunistic attacks.” (MA, 2 Jun 08.)
Each Warrior armoured fighting vehicle costs approximately £85,500 to ship to Afghanistan by commercial heavy air lift. There are no plans to deploy Challenger 2 main battle tanks to Afghanistan. (MA, 3 Jun 08.)
Hundreds of British soldiers took part in OP EAGLE’S EYE, involving a night-time helicopter raid to disrupt the Taliban South of Musa Qaleh. (MoD, 4 Jun 08.)
An RAF Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle used its weapons system in support of Coalition Forces for the first time. The Reaper was controlled from Nevada by 39 Squadron personnel. (MoD, 6 Jun 08.) [The weapon/s was/were not specified.]
Comment: Command of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) changed on 3 Jun 08, when (US) General McNeill handed over to (US) General McKiernan. General McNeill had been in post for 16 months but is now due to retire in July 2008. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0823, 09 June 08)
10 Jun 08. The Medium Support Helicopter Aircrew Training Facility (MSHATF), owned and operated at Royal Air Force (RAF) base Benson by CAE Aircrew Training Services Plc, will be connected to JMNIAN, the United Kingdom’s high-speed national secure data highway, under an initiative funded by the U.K. Ministry of Defence (MoD) and CAE. When the connection is operative later this year, the Chinook, Merlin and Puma helicopter aircrews training at MSHATF will be able to participate in networked training and mission rehearsal exercises with U.K. defence forces at bases around the country. These locations include the Aviation Training International Limited (ATIL) Apache attack helicopter training facility at Middle Wallop, the Combined Arms Tactical Training (CATT) facility at Warminster, and, in the future, the Mission Training through Distribut