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21 Mar 12. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. A Captain from 2nd Bn The Mercian Regiment was killed by an improvised explosive device in the Mirmandab Region of Nahr-e Saraj on 21 Mar 12. UK deaths since the start of Operations on 7 Oct 01 thus rose to 405, of whom 365 were killed due to hostile action. (MoD, 21 Mar 12.)
International Forces will gradually hand over responsibility to Afghan National Security Forces, who will have full security responsibility in all Provinces by the end of 2014. (Written Answer (WA), 19 Mar 12.)
The Afghan National Army now stands at 184,000 and the Afghan National Police at 145,000. (WA, 19 Mar 12.)
Nearly 1,000 British soldiers joined forces with a similar number of Afghan National Army and Police for
OP NOW ROZ to clear insurgents for the Yakchal area. (Media Ops, 20 Mar 12.)
We expect the Afghan National Security Forces to reach their approved strength of 352,000 (157,000 Police & 195,000 Army) by 31 Oct 12. (WA, 20 Mar 12.)
Comment: Various exchanges took place in the House of Commons. FCO Questions on 19 Mar 12 covered several aspects of OP HERRICK. The Prime Minister gave an account of his recent meeting with the US President on 21 Mar 12 while the Foreign Secretary delivered a report on Afghanistan on 23 Mar 12. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 12/13, 26 Mar 12)
21 Mar 12. Budget 2012: Defence Aspects. In his Budget Statement (21 Mar 12), the Chancellor of the Exchequer drew attention to the ‘savings’ which are likely to follow the ending of Operations in Afghanistan. The Chancellor also mentioned some minor adjustments to accommodation, the families’ welfare grant and council tax relief for the Armed Forces. The Budget for 2012/13 includes an estimate of the initial allocation from the Special Reserve for the additional cost of Operations (i.e. Afghanistan). No such allocation has yet been made for 2013/14 onwards.
Comment: The Chancellor’s pledge to fund “an extra £100m of improvements in the accommodation of our Armed Forces and their families” has a whiff of ‘smoke and mirrors’. As recently as September 2011, the MoD confirmed that improvements to Service accommodation were being placed on hold for three years (in order to save £1,200m). The decreasing TME percentage allocated to the MoD reflects the Government’s attitude. ‘Budget 2012’ is available as HC 1853, for £45:00. The paragraphs (1.35 & 1.36) on the Treasury Special Reserve are of interest to those in the Defence world. Tables 2.3 & 2.4 in the Red Book are the sources for the figures quoted above. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 12/13, 26 Mar 12)
09 Mar 12. France’s military power is set for a major boost this year as equipment programmes funded by the country’s defence procurement agency, the Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA), and enshrined within the country’s LPM (Loi de Programmation Militaire) legislation come to fruition. Major items that the French armed forces expect to receive in 2012 include: – one C-160 Gabriel Rénové electronic surveillance aircraft; – 228 Armement Air-Sol Modulaire (AASM) precision-guided kits for 250 kg bombs; – 11 Rafale combat aircraft; – seven Reco-NG reconnaissance pods; – three EC 725 Caracal HUS (Hélicoptère Unités Spéciales) special operations helicopters; – the last two EDA-R (Engin de Débarquement Amphibie-Rapide) fast-landing catamarans; – five EC 665 Tigre HAP (Hélicoptère d’Appui Protection) combat support helicopters and the first EC 665 Tigre HAD (Hélicoptère d’Appui Déstruction) attack helicopter; – protection kits for VAB (Véhicule de l’Avant Blindé) armoured personnel carriers; – 4,036 FELIN (Fantassin à Équipement et Liaisons Intégrés) future soldier kits; – 100 VBCI (Véhicule Blindé de Combat d’Infanterie) wheeled armoured vehicles; – the last 38 VHM (Véhicule Haute Mobili