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Apr 10. General Election: Manifestos. Party manifestos for the forthcoming Election have been published:-
* The Labour Party (A future fair for all) covers Defence in the seven pages of Chapter 10.
* The Conservative Party (Invitation to join the Government of Britain) includes Defence in five pages starting at page 103.
* The Liberal Democrats (Manifesto 2010) refers to Defence in three pages starting on page 62.
Comment: None of the three main Parties appear to be particularly enthused about the Armed Forces, although the Conservative manifesto makes the most sense.
The RUSI is holding a series of Pre-Election Debates: Conservative Party on 21 Apr 10 at 17.30hrs; Labour Party on 26 Apr 10 at 13.00hrs & Liberal Democrats on 30 Apr 10 at 13.00hrs. Sir Malcolm Rifkind, a former Defence and Foreign Secretary is leading the Conservative Party view. The Defence Secretary is speaking for the Labour Party and Lord Wallace, a Foreign Affairs spokesman, represents the Liberal Democrats. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 09/15, 19 Apr 09)

10 Apr 10. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. Command of UK troops in Helmand Province was handed over from 11 Light Brigade to 4 Mechanized Brigade on 10 Apr 10. The Transfer of Authority ceremony at Task Force Helmand HQ, Lashkar Gah, was attended by the Provincial Governor. 4 Mechanized Brigade’s tour is due to end in October 2010. (MoD, 10 Apr 10.)
Soldiers from 6 Squadron, 12 Logistic Support Regiment, conducted a week-long logistic patrol from Camp Bastion to FOB Edinburgh near Musa Qal’ah. The 200km patrol also involved personnel from the US Marine Corps and the US Army. (MoD, 13 Apr 10.)
4 Mechanized Brigade’s units will assume responsibilities from their predecessors over a nine-week period. Newly arrived soldiers undertake their final in-theatre training as part of the Reception Staging and Onward Integration process. (MoD, 14 Apr 10.)
9 (Bomber) Squadron handed over to 2 (Army Co-operation) Squadron on 13 Apr 10 at Kandahar Airfield. Both Squadrons fly the Tornado GR4 and are normally based at RAF Marham. 2 Squadron’s tour is due to end in July 2010. (MoD, 14 Apr 10.)
Personnel from the Counter-Improvised Explosive Device (C-IED) Task Force cleared the road to Shahzad, which had previously been impassable. The clearance task took five weeks to complete. (MoD, 16 Apr 10.)
Comment: The US Defense Secretary was reported (14 Apr 10) as saying that civilian casualties in Afghanistan were posing a strategic challenge to military success in the Country. Civilian deaths were “leading Afghans to turn against the US-led coalition and shift their support to the Taliban.”. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 09/15, 19 Apr 09)

20 Apr 10. Saab has offered to sell its Gripen fighter jets to the Bulgarian Air Force at the price of second-hand US F-16 planes.
Saab International Bulgaria director Daniel Boestad said that Bulgaria would save money without compromising on quality with the Gripen offer, according to novinite.com. Boestad said the Gripen fighter jets would lower maintenance costs and require smaller service teams compared with secon

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