NEWS IN BRIEF
25 Jan 09. Iraq: OP TELIC. A VC10 was badly damaged during a ground incident: ground equipment was blown into the K3 tanker by another aircraft’s jet wash. (RAF Update, 25 Jan 09.)
There is strong and effective co-operation between officials from the FCO, the MoD and DfID (Department for International Development) on OP TELIC. The US Commanding General in Iraq has praised the levels of UK civil-military integration in Basrah. (Defence Secretary, 26 Jan 09.)
Comment: The current (31 Jan 09) edition of ‘The Economist’ includes a major survey of the Armed Forces. Entitled “Overstretch, overwhelmed and over there”, the article has the sub-heading “Seven years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan have exposed Britain’s military failings. It can and must do better”. The Chief of the Defence Staff has written to ‘The Economist’ offering “a different perspective”.(Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 09/06, 02 Feb 09)
30 Jan 09. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. A soldier from 1st Bn The Rifles died of wounds following an exchange of fire North of Musa Qaleh on
30 Jan 09. (MoD, 30 Jan 09.) UK deaths since the start of Operations in October 2001 thus rose to 143, of whom 114 were killed as a result of hostile action.
120 Royal Marines from 45 Commando Group were among those who took part in an Operation, OP GHARTSE PALANG, which resulted in the capture of a Taliban Command Post and a “huge” haul of weapons in the Upper Sangin Valley. (MoD, 26 Jan 09.)
“Britain’s own security is at risk if we allow Afghanistan to become a safe haven for terrorists.” (Ministerial Answer (MA), 28 Jan 09.)
“The UK works constantly to improve co-operation between international Forces….” (MA, 28 Jan 09.)
“….the insurgency remains resilient and 2009 will continue to present significant security challenges in certain areas of the Country….” (MA, 29 Jan 09.)
The MoD confirmed that 19 Light Brigade is to deploy to Helmand Province from April to October 2009 (HERRICK 10). The Brigade is based in Northern Ireland and this will be the first time it has been deployed
Comment: ‘RAF News’ (30 Jan 09) includes a description of the evacuation of 12 wounded Servicemen from Afghanistan to the UK in a suitably converted C-17. The patient support pallet is said to have been leased from the US at a cost of $36,000 (£25,160) for 12 months; which begs the question as to why this vital equipment has not been bought outright. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 09/06, 02 Feb 09)
27 Jan 09. Joint Rapid Reaction Force (JRRF): Army Element. The Armed Forces’ Minister explained (27 Jan 09) that the JRRF commitments held at high readiness included the Small Scale Contingent Battle Group (SSCBG) and the Spearhead Land Element (SLE). The SSCBG is being provided by 3rd Bn The Parachute Regiment until 31 Dec 09 and the SLE is based on 1st Bn The Royal Anglian Regiment until 31 Jul 09.
Comment: The SSCBG replaced the Small Scale Focussed Intervention Force on 1 Jan 09 (but, in practical terms, this is only a change of name. It gives the Junior Officers at PJHQ something to do: changing all the presentation material.) (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 09/06, 02 Feb 09)
27 Jan 09. Meteor BVRAAM: In-Service Dates. The Defence Equipment Minister said (27 Jan 09) that the Meteor BVRAAM (beyond visual range air-to-air missile) in-service date has been redefined “to reflect a two-stage approach”. A fully developed missile standard is to be ready for delivery and platform integration in August 2012. Secondly, the first front-line Typhoon unit is to be declared Meteor-capable in July 2015.
Comment: The above detail confirms the information released in the Major Projects Report 2008 (HC 64-II of
18 Dec 08). While the MoD has acknowledged the doubling of the cost of each Meteor missile (from £1m to £2m), the number on order remains ‘classified’.
Meteor is a collaborative programme with Germany, Italy and Spain (for Typhoon), Franc