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30 Oct 12. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. A Lieutenant and a Lance Corporal from 1st Bn The Royal Gurkha Rifles were killed by a man wearing an Afghan Police uniform in the Nahr-e Saraj District on 30 Oct 12. UK deaths since the start of Operations thus rose to 437, of whom 394 were killed due to hostile action. (MoD, 30 Oct 12.)
Afghanistan ranks 180th out of 183 in the 2011 Corruption Perceptions Index. (Written Answer (WA), 30 Oct 12.)
Opium poppy cultivation rose nationally in Afghanistan during 2011 by 7% (although it fell by 3% in Helmand Province). (WA, 30 Oct 12.)
Foxhound vehicles have been deployed in Afghanistan since May 2012, from when a small number of technical issues have been reported. (WA, 31 Oct 12.)
Reaper is the only UK remotely piloted air system (RPAS) and has been armed with guided weapons since May 2008. As at 22 Oct 12, 293 Hellfire missiles and 52 laser guided bombs have been deployed using UK Reaper. (WA, 1 Nov 12.)
Comment: During a Press briefing (31 Oct 12), the ISAF Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations said that ISAF “has completed the recovery of surge forces and is increasingly shifting to the advice and assist role”. The NATO Secretary General also welcomed the announcement of the date for the 2014 Afghan Presidential and Provincial Elections (which is 5 Apr 14.) (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 12/43, 05 Nov 12)

30 Oct 12. The UK government was accused by the SNP of “dumping” weapons of mass destruction in Scotland, as plans to forge ahead with a replacement for the Clyde-based Trident nuclear deterrent were set out yesterday. During a visit to the Faslane base, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said there were no plans to move the submarine-based system, despite the looming independence referendum and support in the Scottish Parliament for scrapping Trident. The Conservative minister’s visit also exposed divisions with his Liberal Democrat coalition partners, as Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg accused him of “jumping the gun” over the proposed replacement. A final decision will not be taken until 2016, but the £350m funding announced will go towards designing the new system. Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the “Trident weapons of mass destruction dumped in Scotland exemplify the independence dividend” for Scots if they voted to leave the UK in 2014. (Source: The Scotsman)

01 Nov 12. Call to deploy both new aircraft carriers. Philip Hammond, defence secretary, has strongly backed suggestions that the UK should operate both of its new aircraft carriers at the end of this decade, arguing that there would be “relatively modest” additional costs. In comments that suggest that the projection of air power from carriers is set to be at the heart of UK military doctrine after 2020, Mr Hammond said he was very keen to see both vessels – the Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales – made operational. Britain took a decision to build the two new state-of-the-art carriers in 1998. But in the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review, it decided that only one should be made operational and the other mothballed or sold off. This was because the UK decided to build catapults and arrestor gear on one of the vessels to accommodate the conventional take-off and landing variant of the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Building on both would have been prohibitively expensive. A radical change of heart on the F35 earlier this year changed this thinking. Britain will now buy the short take-off and verticallanding (STOVL) version, eliminating the need for catapults and arrestor gear altogether. As a result, the UK could well decide in the 2015 strategic review to make both carriers fully operational. Mr Hammond, at a conference organised by the Royal United Services Institute, said the only cost issue in r

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