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01 Jul 12. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. A Warrant Officer from the Royal Corps of Signals and two Guardsmen from 1st Bn Welsh Guards were killed by a man wearing an Afghan Police uniform in the Nahr-e Saraj District on 1 Jul 12. UK deaths since the start of Operations on 7 Oct 01 thus rose to 422, of whom 382 were killed due to hostile action. (MoD, 1 Jul 12.)
The Sentinel R1 aircraft of V (Army Co-operation) Squadron provided some 80 hours of radar reconnaissance and analysis for ground commanders during the past week. Reaper aircraft of 39 Squadron provided detailed imagery and intelligence to Ground Commanders. (RAF Ops Update, 1 Jul 12.)
Afghan National Army members are taking the lead in the battle against improvised explosive devices, as instructed by British personnel. (MoD, 6 Jul 12).
Comment: The Foreign Secretary said (4 Jul 12) that he welcomed the re-opening of the ground lines of communication (GLOC) into Afghanistan “which are important for Britain and NATO’s Operations”. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 12/27, 09 July 12)
04 Jul 12. Tornado GR4 Aircraft: Fatal Accident. The Defence Secretary confirmed (5 Jul 12) that one RAF crew member had died and two remained missing, presumed dead, after an incident in the Moray Firth on 3 Jul 12. Two Tornado GR4 aircraft from 15 (Reserve) Squadron at RAF Lossiemouth were involved and a Flight Lieutenant was killed. A Squadron Leader and a Flight Lieutenant are missing; presumed dead. A fourth member of the Squadron is in a serious, but stable, condition in hospital.
Comment: The Station Commander RAF Lossiemouth said (4 Jul 12) that the incident would be subject to full investigation, with a Service Inquiry led by the Military Aviation Authority. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 12/27, 09 July 12)
05 Jul 12. Army 2020: Outline Structure. The Defence Secretary announced (5 Jul 12) “plans to redesign the Army into an agile, capable, formidable force for the future”. The Army is to become “a fully integrated Regular and Reserve Force of 120,000 by 2020 with its focus shifting from campaigns to contingencies”. The Army is to be re-organised into Reaction Forces (to meet contingency tasks), Adaptable Forces (to fulfil standing tasks and public duties) and Force Troops (to provide specialist support for the two Forces).
The strength of the Regular Army is being reduced from 102,000 to 82,000. In order to assist this reduction, 17 major units are to be removed from the Order of Battle (as listed at page 3).
The Army Reserve is to be expanded to a trained strength of 30,000. The Defence Secretary intends to publish a consultation paper “in the Autumn” setting out detailed proposals, leading to “informed decisions” for the Reserves early in 2013.
Comment: ‘Army 2020’ was debated in the House of Commons, following the Defence Secretary’s Statement (as recorded in Hansard for 5 Jul 12, starting in Column 1085). ‘Future Reserves 2020’ for all Services (not just the Army) were the subject of a Written Ministerial Statement on 5 Jul 12 (Hansard, Column 65WS). Both Hansard entries are worth reading, in order to get a flavour of the ‘way ahead’. One of the more interesting remarks by the Defence Secretary, when describing Reaction Forces: “At best effort, it will deliver a Division into the field” (thus the British Army would appear to be reduced to one Division).
As one Infantry Colonel Commandant has said: “….our success will depend on our ability to integrate the Regular and Reserve elements of the Regiment. This is the ‘big idea’ behind Army 2020….”. Quite so! (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 12/27, 09 July 12)
29 Jun 12. Sweden could loan a fleet of Gripen fighter jets to Switzerland as it awaits delivery of the craft’s next generation model, Swiss Defens