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27 Apr 12. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. A Guardsman (i.e. Private) from 1st Bn Grenadier Guards died as the result of a gunshot wound sustained during a patrol in Nahr-e-Saraj North on 27 Apr 12. UK deaths since the start of Operations on 7 Oct 01 thus rose to 410, of whom 370 were killed due to hostile action. (MoD, 27 Apr 12.)
Afghan soldiers, supported by UK troops from the 12 Brigade Reconnaissance Force, seized a weapons cache (including 250kg of explosives) in the Hyderabad area of Helmand Province. (Media Ops, 23 Apr 12.
As at 31 Mar 12, the net additional cost of military operations in Afghanistan since 2001 has been “some” £17,000m. (Written Answer, 24 Apr 12.)
The Defence Secretary detailed plans for reducing the level of UK Forces from 9,500 to 9,000 “by the end of this year”. The reduction will mostly comprise combat troops. A further 200 troops are to be transferred from the combat role to Security Force Assistance teams. UK Force Headquarters in Nahr-e Saraj North and South will merge “to better align with Afghan administrative boundaries”. (Written Statement, 26 Apr 12.)
UK troops from the Brigade Advisory Group assisted with OP SHAFUQ, the first major Afghan National Army offensive of the Spring. (Media Ops, 27 Apr 12.)
Comment: The FCO’s monthly progress report on Afghanistan for March 2012 was published on 26 Apr 12 and can be viewed at the FCO website (www.fco.gov.uk/).
27 Apr 12. London Olympic Games: EX OLYMPIC GUARDIAN. The MoD detailed (27 Apr 12) arrangements for EX OLYMPIC GUARDIAN, which will take place in London and the Home Counties from 2 to 10 May 12 inclusive, in preparation for the Olympic Games (27 Jul to 12 Aug 12). Ground and air elements will be involved in training designed to test responses to an unknown aircraft entering restricted airspace, which will be established over London during the Games. Participants include:
* RAF Typhoon aircraft temporarily based at RAF Northolt in West London.
* RN Sea King helicopters temporarily based at RAF Northolt.
* RAF Puma helicopters forward based at the Territorial Centre, Ilford.
* Army Air Corps and RN Lynx embarked on HMS OCEAN on the Thames.
* E-3D Sentry and VC10 tankers operating from their home bases in Lincolnshire and Oxfordshire.
Typhoon, Puma, Lynx and target aircraft will mostly fly between 4,000ft and 2,000ft in order to de-conflict with civilian air movements over London. Briefly, however, aircraft will descent to 1,000ft and to 500ft.
Comment: A prohibited airspace zone will be in place (14 Jul to 15 Aug 12) from Heathrow to London City Airport with a further restricted zone around London. Some exemptions apply, for instance, to accommodate the Farnborough Air Show which ends on 15 Jul 12. Restrictions will also be in place for the Paralympic Games
(29 Aug to 9 Sep 12). The arrangements will not affect regulated aviation i.e. commercial aircraft.
The Civil Aviation Authority, in collaboration with the RAF, released (27 Apr 12) a leaflet for pilots providing information concerning rules and procedures for London airspace during the Games. The leaflet explains the measures military aircrew will use to intercept and communicate with aircraft breaching restricted airspace and the actions pilots must take in response. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 12/17, 30 Apr 12)
23 Apr 12. Norway says it will spend nearly $1.74bn upgrading and buying new armored vehicles, as well as acquiring unmanned aerial and ground reconnaissance assets and other systems. The Ministry of Defence in Oslo said in a statement that it had presented a bill to the Norwegian parliament to upgrade existing CV90 vehicles and acquire new vehicles from BAE Systems’ Swedish business to