NEWS IN BRIEF
09 Jan 09. Iraq: OP TELIC. From 1 Jan 06 to 15 Dec 08, 315 personnel were categorised as Wounded in Action and 1,717 were aeromedically evacuated. (MoD, 9 Jan 09.) From 1 to 15 Dec 08 the figures were nil and 26.
The ground staff of 902 EAW (Expeditionary Air Wing) RAF handled a record monthly total of over 1,200 transit passengers during December 2008. (RAF Update, 4 Jan 09.)
“Although the political situation between Iraq and the UK changed on 1 Jan 09, the Tornado Detachment has not needed to change the way it conducts Operations in Iraq. They will continue in this vein as long as their presence is required.” (RAF Update, 4 Jan 09.)
The village of Al Mithar took delivery of a new school classroom on 24 Dec 08, thanks to 51 Squadron,
RAF Regiment. (MoD, 5 Jan 09.)
Comment: An article by Christopher Booker in The Sunday Telegraph (4 Jan 09 – ‘Our Army failed its test in Iraq’) created a stir among the Chiefs, presumably as intended. The Chief of the Defence Staff and the Chief of the General Staff both issued statements, the latter asserting that: “The nation should be immensely proud of the British Army and the enduring professionalism, patience and determination of its young soldiers to see the job through to the end.”. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 09/03, 12 Jan 09)
09 Jan 09. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. From 1 Jan 06 to 15 Dec 08, 545 personnel were categorised as Wounded in Action and 1,597 were aeromedically evacuated. (MoD, 9 Jan 09.) From 1 to 15 Dec 08 the figures were 19 and 39.
1,500 troops took part in OP SOND CHARA (Red Dagger) which started on 11 Dec 08 and involved “two weeks of fierce fighting” in order to secure a large area of central Helmand. British, Danish and Estonian troops took part, together with members of the Afghan Security Forces. “Stabilisation activity” followed the Operation. Commander Task Force Helmand, Brigadier G K Messenger, described the Operation as “very successful”. (MoD, 5 Jan 09.)
Soldiers from 1st Bn The Rifles helped the Afghan Security Forces with the distribution of 3,200 tonnes of wheat seed as part of the Food Zone Programme. The Programme is designed to help farmers grow wheat instead of poppy. (MoD, 7 Jan 09.)
Comment: 93% of the heroin in the UK comes from Afghanistan, two thirds of which is from Helmand Province. (MoD figures, 9 Jan 09.) (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 09/03, 12 Jan 09)
09 Jan 09. A400M Transport Aircraft: Programme Slippage. Airbus Military/EADS issued a statement (9 Jan 09) on the future of the A400M programme. Airbus Military proposes that first delivery of the aircraft should take place “around three years after first flight”. However, “Airbus Military is still working with the engine consortium to firm up a date for the first flight.”.
Comment: As at 31 Mar 08, the estimated cost of the 25 A400M ordered by the UK was £2,632m. The original in-service date, when the seventh aircraft was to have been delivered, was December 2009. Giving evidence to the Defence Committee on 25 Nov 08, the Chief of Defence Matériel admitted that alternative solutions to the UK’s requirements were being considered. Possible solutions are: additional Boeing C-17, early introduction of the Airbus 330 or life extension for the Lockheed Martin C-130K. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 09/03, 12 Jan 09)
Jan 09. Beauty Parade for BAE Agents. Sources close to BATTLESPACE suggest that BAE’s lawyers have recommended a ‘Beauty Parade’ of their existing Overseas Agents to bring the Company within its new compliance regime. However, some Overseas Offices of BAE were not informed of the move and BATTLESPAE understands that the first the BAE Office in Thailand knew was when their lease was terminated by the owner – their Agent in Country! Sources suggest that there may be litigation flying around for lost commission but it has left a big gap in countries where BAE is looking to sell particularly Thailand for Light Gun