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NEWS IN BRIEF

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EUROPE

06 Feb 12. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. The provision of military capability and equipment to support Operations in Afghanistan is under constant review. (Written Answer (WA), 6 Feb 12.)
The Watchkeeper programme will begin to replace the Hermes 450 from the latter half of 2012. (WA, 6 Feb 12.)
A team of British soldiers has been receiving Pashto language lessons to help them to build relationships with the Afghan Police. (Media Ops, 6 Feb 12.)
Over 280 British troops took part in OP ROZI ROSHAN to clear insurgents from an area North Of Gereshk. (Media Ops, 7 Feb 12.)
Current exit routes from Afghanistan are by air only….there are a range of exit routes which are subject to continuous review and development. (House of Lords (HL), 8 Feb 12.)
RAF Tornado have used ordnance on 33 occasions since November 2010, of which 17 were in support of UK ground forces. (HL, 8 Feb 12.)
The UK is committed to supporting Afghan-led efforts to achieve an inclusive and sustainable political settlement. (Written Answer (WA), 8 Feb 12.)
The UK currently employs 966 locally engaged civilians in Afghanistan. (WA, 8 Feb 12.)
OP ZAMARY TAKHTA was launched to clear the Pupalzay area of explosive devices. (MoD, 9 Feb 12.)
There has been no change to the strategy agreed by ISAF nations in Lisbon in 2010. (MoD, 10 Feb 12.)
Comment: The Foreign Secretary delivered his quarterly Statement on Afghanistan to the House of Commons on 9 Feb 12. On the same day, the Foreign Secretary also published a Written Statement on the
‘UK-Afghanistan Enduring Strategic Partnership’. Both Statements are recorded in Hansard.
The Defence Secretary issued a Written Statement (originally on 7 Feb 12 but corrected on 9 Feb 12) on the OP HERRICK 16 Roulement. The Statement gives comprehensive details of the units within 12 Mechanised Brigade, which is to replace 20 Armoured Brigade during April 2012. The planned replacement formation for OP HERRICK 17 (October 2012 to April 2013) is 4 Mechanised Brigade. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 12/07, 13 Feb 12)

08 Feb 12. Libya: Defence Committee Report. The Defence Committee published (8 Feb 12) a Report on Operations in Libya. The main part of the Report is divided between: United Nations; NATO; UK Contribution and Implications for Future Operations. The publication includes two helpful maps, oral evidence to the Committee (for 27 Apr, 12 Oct & 26 Oct 11) and written evidence from the MoD and others. The Committee concludes that the Operation was successful “but HM Forces will face new difficulties if given another Libya-size Operation”.
Comment: Following publication, the Defence Secretary issued a Statement which included: “The Libyan Campaign shows that we retain the contingent capability to conduct Operations in addition to our commitments in Afghanistan, counter-piracy off the Horn of Africa, Gulf security and standing tasks such as the Falklands and defence of the UK.”. The Report is published, as HC 950, for £17:50. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 12/07, 13 Feb 12)

08 Feb 12. NATO agreed Feb. 8 to extend its air policing mission over its Baltic member states Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia until 2018. At the same time, the 28-nation alliance will seek a “sustainable long-term solution” to maintain planes over the three nations, which do not have their own fighter jets, a NATO official told Agence France-Presse. “This mission continues to demonstrate the Alliance’s commitment to collective defense and solidarity for all its members,” NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in a statement. (Source: Defense News)

08 Feb 12. Swedish defense firm Saab will cut the price on its Gripen fighter jet to ensure that it wins a Swiss order after French plane maker Dassault threatened to undercut its offer, a report said

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