NEWS IN BRIEF
12 Jan 09. Iraq: OP TELIC. The Iraqi 14th Division, trained by the British, celebrated the 88th Iraqi Army Day with a parade in Basrah on 11 Jan 09. (MoD, 12 Jan 09.)
Royal Engineers from 29 Armoured Engineer Squadron repaired the Mabey-Johnson Logistic Bridge over the Shatt al-Arab River on 10/11 Jan 09. (MoD, 14 Jan 09.)
A new Order has been made, enabling Reservists to continue to be called out in support of Operations in Iraq. Some 310 Reservists are currently mobilised and deployed in support of these Operations. (Written Statement, 14 Jan 09.)
The UK’s remaining military tasks in Iraq are to be completed by 31 May 09 and the subsequent withdrawal of Forces is to be complete by 31 Jul 09. It is assumed that some 400 Service personnel will remain in Iraq after 31 Jul 09. OP ARCHIVE is not concerned with the overall withdrawal of UK Forces, but is the name given to the periodic removal of equipment from Iraq. (Written Answer (WA), 14 Jan 09.)
The audited net additional cost to the MoD for Operations in Iraq in 2007/08 was £1,457m. The forecast estimate for 2008/09 is £1,379m. (WA, 14 Jan 09.)
Comment: The House of Commons debated ‘Iraq: Future Strategic Relationship’ on 14 Jan 09 (Hansard, starting in Column 231). The Defence Secretary acknowledged the wish of many Members of Parliament for a “Public Inquiry into the Iraqi war” but said that “this is a matter we shall consider once our troops have come home from Iraq.”. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 09/04, 19 Jan 09)
15 Jan 09. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. A Royal Marine operating with 45 Commando was killed in the Kajaki area of Helmand Province on 11 Jan 09. A Captain from 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery and a Royal Marine Corporal from 45 Commando were killed near Gereshk on 14 Jan 09. UK deaths since the start of Operations in October 2001 thus rose to 141, of whom 112 were killed as a result of hostile action. (MoD, 15 Jan 09.)
“Considerable progress has been made but the insurgency remains resilient.” (WA, 12 Jan 09.)
“I believe that the conflict in Afghanistan will be the defining conflict of the 21st century for NATO and will confirm its relevance or otherwise….” (Defence Secretary, 12 Jan 09.)
“We are therefore planning to maintain Forces in Afghanistan for the foreseeable future.” (Defence Secretary, 13 Jan 09.)
The audited net additional cost to the MoD for Operations in Afghanistan in 2007/08 was £1,504m. The forecast estimate for 2008/09 is £2,318m.
Comment: The MoD confirmed (16 Jan 09) that an investigation is underway “into a suspected friendly fire incident in Helmand Province on 14 Jan 09.” Captain T Sawyer RA and Corporal D Winter RM were killed in the incident and two other members of their fire support team were injured. The MoD warns that the investigation will take time and that no further information will be released until it has been completed. Media speculation about the incident should be treated with caution. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 09/04, 19 Jan 09)
12 Jan 09. Astute Class Submarines: Seven to be Ordered. Both the Defence Secretary and the Defence Equipment Minister confirmed (12 Jan 09) that the MoD intends to order seven Astute Class SSN.
Comment: Four Astute Class SSN are on contract and in various stages of production by BAE Systems at Barrow-in-Furness. On present plans, the number of RN SSN will drop to seven in 2011 and then remain at that number. Each Astute Class boat is expected to have a crew of 140: 16 Officers (one more than the Trafalgar Class); 51 Senior Rates (three less) and 73 Junior Rates (11 less). (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 09/04, 19 Jan 09)
13 Jan 09. Aircraft Carriers: Transition. Asked about the transition arrangements from the present to the future aircraft carriers, the Defence Equipment Minister replied (13 Jan 09): “The transition from the existing to future aircraft carriers will be managed coherently and we are currently