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08 Apr 12. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. A Corporal from The Queen’s Royal Hussar’s died on 8 Apr 12, having been injured in an explosion nearLashkar Gah on 3 Feb 12. UK deaths since the start of Operations on 7 Oct 01 thus rose to 408, of whom 368 were killed due to hostile action. (MoD, 8 Apr 12.)
From 1 Jan 06 to 15 Mar 12, 1,878 personnel were Wounded in Action and 5,588 were aeromedically evacuated. (DASA, 3 Apr 12.) From 1 to 15 Mar 12 the figures were three and 52.
The final area of Lashkar Gah to transfer to Afghan security control was handed over. The process of transition for security responsibility from the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to Afghan Forces in Lashkar Gah began in July 2011. (Media Ops, 3 Apr 12.)
The 39 Squadron Reaper detachment continued to provide detailed imagery and intelligence for ground commanders. Intelligence was also provided by Tornado GR4, using the RAPTOR (Reconnaissance Airborne Pod for Tornado) system. (RAF Ops Update, 7 Apr 12.) [RAPTOR is a digital camera pod which is capable of photographing a large area during a single sortie.
12 Mechanized Brigade took command of Task Force Helmand (TFH) from 20th Armoured Brigade on 10 Apr 12, thus officially marking the start of OP HERRICK 16. 12 Mechanized Brigade will be the TFH lead formation until October 2012. (MoD, 11 Apr 12.) [A revised list of the units deployed on OP HERRICK 16 was published in Hansard for 9 Feb 12, starting at Column 36WS.]
Comment: In his monthly Press briefing on 2 Apr 12, the NATO Secretary General said that ‘transition’ would be agreed during the Chicago Summit (20/21 May 12). The Alliance is to agree “what kind of mission NATO will have after 2014, to provide the training, assistance and support that Afghans will need”.(Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 12/15, 16 Apr 12)

10 Apr 12. Japan: Defence Equipment Co-operation. During his official visit to Japan (10 Apr 12), the Prime Minister renewed the UK’s commitment to signing a Defence Co-operation Memorandum with Japan “in the near future”. It was agreed that the Memorandum would be signed by the two Defence Ministers at their next meeting. Meanwhile, the Prime Ministers agreed to “seek to launch at least one programme of such defence equipment as soon as possible and explore the feasibility of a future major programme”.
Comment: No details of any projects were released and it will be interesting to see how this new found
co-operation proceeds: meanwhile the Memorandum awaits signature. Companies represented on the Prime Minister’s tour included: AgustaWestland, Babcock, BAE Systems, MBDA, Rolls-Royce & Thales.
(Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 12/15, 16 Apr 12)

10 Apr 12. During his official visit to Tokyo, Prime Minister David Cameron has renewed the UK’s commitment to signing a Defence Cooperation Memorandum with Japan in the near future. During the meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, the Prime Minister agreed that their respective Defence Ministers would sign the Memorandum next time they met. In parallel, officials will be discussing a range of defence programmes that present industrial opportunities for both the UK and Japan. The opportunity to increase defence cooperation between UK and Japanese defence industries has been made possible by changes announced in December 2011 to the Japanese guidelines on the overseas transfer of defence equipment. Defence Secretary, Philip Hammond, said, “I am pleased with the progress made in our defence relationship in recent months and we are keen for the UK to become Japan’s partner of choice, alongside the US, for defence industrial collaboration. I am looking forward to meeting my Japanese counterpart so that we can take forward the discussions we began during my visit to Japan last October

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