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21 Sep 09. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. A Sergeant from 2nd Bn The Mercian Regiment was killed as a result of an explosion in the Gereshk District on 21 Sep 09. UK deaths since the start of Operations in October 2001 thus rose to 217, of whom 186 were killed as a result of hostile action. (MoD, 21 Sep 09.)
Engineers from 66 Works Group Royal Engineers, part of 522 Specialist Team Royal Engineers, have helped 80 civilian infrastructure projects worth over $US14m. (MoD, 21 Sep 09.)
854 Naval Air Squadron (NAS) is handing over to 857 NAS. Both Squadrons are equipped with Sea King Mk7 helicopters (or ‘Baggers’). (MoD, 22 Sep 09.)
5,000 new Mk7 helmets and sets of Osprey body armour are being shipped to Afghanistan, for use by members of 11 Light Brigade from October 2009. A further 5,000 sets of new helmets and body armour are due to be sent to Afghanistan in Spring 2010. (MoD, 22 Sep 09.)
Comment: The MoD acknowledged that a copy of General McChrystal’s Strategic Review had been received, prior to discussions by NATO as a whole. A copy of the Review was also leaked to ‘The Washington Post’, leading to widespread speculation about additional UK deployments in national newspapers. The MoD endeavoured to calm such speculation, on 22 and 24 Sep 09: “We will work closely with our NATO allies and other partners to respond to [the Review’s] recommendations.”. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 10/36, 28 Sep 09)
23 Sep 09. Nuclear Deterrent: Boat Numbers. In a speech to the United Nations (23 Sep 09) the Prime Minister said: “….in line with maintaining our nuclear deterrent, I have asked our National Security Committee to report to me on the potential future reduction of our nuclear weapon submarines from four to three.”.
Comment: There is nothing new in the suggestion that three SSBN boats may be adequate in future and the matter was discussed in Section 5 of the 2006 White Paper (‘The Future of the UK’s Nuclear Deterrent’, Command 6994, 4 Dec 06, £13:50). The Initial Gate business case for the Successor SSBN is concentrating on the replacement submarine and associated propulsion system: the Defence Secretary has promised to update Parliament on progress before the end of 2009. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 10/36, 28 Sep 09)
24 Sep 09. Alenia Aeronautica (a Finmeccanica company), through its subsidiary Alenia North America, will deliver to the US Air Force the first of the 18 modernised G.222 tactical transport aircraft, to be then shipped to the re-constituted Afghan Air Force, the Afghanistan National Army Air Corps – ANAAC. Delivery of the first G.222 follows the $287m contract signed on September 30th 2008 by Alenia North America with the US Air Force. The order envisages that airplanes be refurbished at Capodichino’s Alenia Aeronautica plant with state-of-the-art avionics and undergoing general improvements complying with specific requirement by USAF (US Air Force); furthermore, two of such planes will be adapted for the transport of Afghan national authorities, using a sound-proof and specifically equipped VIP module.
24 Sep 09. EADS Astrium, an aerospace su