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16 Oct 12. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. From 1 Jan 06 to 30 Sep 12, 2,040 personnel were Wounded in Action and 6,247 were aeromedically evacuated. (DASA, 16 Oct 12.) For September 2012 the figures were 35 and 85.
The final VC10 departed on 8 Oct 12, ending a long association with Middle East Operations. (RAF, 16 Oct 12.)
The former Deputy Commander ISAF and UK National Component Commander gave a media briefing on 17 Oct 12, in which he stressed that “his message was essentially one of good news”. (MoD, 18 Oct 12.)
“The strategy agreed between NATO, ISAF partners and the Afghan Government is to enable the Afghan Forces to take full responsibility for their Country’s security by the end of 2014”. (NATO, 18 Oct 12.)
On Afghanistan, the Prime Minister “needs to be honest about why we are going, why we are staying for another 18 months and what we are in fact going to leave behind.”. (Editorial, The Spectator, 20 Oct 12.)
Comment: The MoD issued an ‘update’ on 14 Oct 12 which stated that the Royal Military Police have arrested two further Royal Marines [making a total of nine] on suspicion of murder in Afghanistan. Four of the nine have since been released without charge. The remaining five have been charged with murder and remain in custody.
On 19 Oct 12 the MoD advised that the Judge Advocate has made an order prohibiting the identification of the five Royal Marines who have been charged and remanded in custody. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 12/41, 22 Oct 12)

18 Oct 12. Libya: OP ELLAMY. The House of Lords’ spokesman on Defence said (18 Oct 12) that the RAF conducted some 3,070 sorties during the Libyan Campaign, of which 2,120 were combat sorties. The UK employed around 240 (1,000lb) Paveway II and 900 (500lb) Paveway IV munitions during the Campaign. The targets ranged from command and control structures to barracks and individual vehicles and weapon systems.
Comment: From 31 Mar to 31 Oct 11, the total NATO Air Operation over Libya involved some 26,000 sorties and the dropping of 7,600 weapons. The UK’s contribution involved 13 naval vessels and 36 aircraft.
(Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 12/41, 22 Oct 12)

13 Oct 12. Galileo: Validation Phase Completed. The European Space Agency announced (ESA – 13 Oct 12) that the third and fourth satellites of the Galileo navigation system were launched from French Guiana on 12 Oct 12. The satellites join the first pair, which were launched on 21 Oct 11, to complete the validation phase of the Galileo programme. With four identical satellites in orbit, ESA will be able to demonstrate the performance of the positioning system fully before the deployment of the remaining operational satellites.
Comment: By late 2014, 18 satellites are due to have been launched and early European services will be able to start. Full Operational Capability will be reached with 30 satellites (including the above four for In-Orbit Validation (IOV) and three in-orbit spares) in 2018.
(Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 12/41, 22 Oct 12)

14 Oct 12. Europe risks giving up on defence. In June last year, Robert Gates, the then US defence secretary, made a speech in Brussels on Europe’s military capabilities. He warned Nato’s European members that they faced “the very real possibility of collective military irrelevance” if they failed to maintain national spending on defence. Mr Gates argued that it would “take leadership from political leaders and policy makers on this continent” to ensure Europe remained a strong military actor. Fifteen months on, many diplomats and defence experts fear European governments are still nowhere near heeding that warning. Europe’s two big nations, the UK and France, are cutting military spending to cope with the crisis in their public sector budgets. Denma

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