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19 Nov 12. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. “….we are in the process of reducing the number of military posts established in Afghanistan to 9,000, which will be achieved by 31 Dec 12.” (Written Answer (WA), 19 Nov 12.)
The MoD is currently determining what equipment is to be repatriated from Afghanistan and what the likely cost will be. (WA, 19 Nov 12.)
The number of very seriously injured/seriously injured Service personnel aeromedically evacuated from Afghanistan between 8 Oct 07 and 30 Sep 12 is 509. (WA, 19 Nov 12.)
The Commander of the Tonga Defence Services visited the RAF Force Protection Wing at Camp Bastion. The Brigadier was guest of honour at the handover ceremony from the Fourth to the Fifth Tongan Contingent. (MoD, 22 Nov 12.) (Tonga Defence Services have supported RAF Force Protection since December 2010.)
Comment: France has ended combat operations (20 Nov 12) in Afghanistan. From a peak deployment of 4,000 troops the French contingent is set to reduce to 1,500 in 2013, most of whom will be employed in recovering equipment. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 12/46, 26 Nov 12)

21 Nov 12. Statement by the NATO Secretary General on Patriot Missile Deployment to Turkey. I have received a letter from the Turkish government requesting the deployment of Patriot missiles. Such a deployment would augment Turkey’s air defence capabilities to defend the population and territory of Turkey. It would contribute to the de-escalation of the crisis along NATO’s south-eastern border. And it would be a concrete demonstration of Alliance solidarity and resolve. In its letter, the Turkish government stressed that the deployment will be defensive only, and that it will in no way support a no-fly zone or any offensive operation. NATO will discuss Turkey’s request without delay. If approved, the deployment would be undertaken in accordance with NATO’s standing air defence plan. It is up to the individual NATO countries that have available Patriots – Germany, the Netherlands and the United States – to decide if they can provide them for deployment in Turkey and for how long. Next week a joint team will visit Turkey to conduct a site-survey for the possible deployment of Patriots. The security of the Alliance is indivisible. NATO is fully committed to deterring against any threats and defending Turkey’s territorial integrity.

19 Nov 12. The Swedish government reportedly may scale back its purchase of Saab-built combat aircraft to as few as 40, raising fears over the future capability of its Air Force. One party spokesman also worries that fewer purchases will put Sweden on the path to have a smaller Air Force than Norway. Doubts over the size of the state’s order is further complicated by the lack of certainty over the sale of the aircraft to Switzerland. Sweden has made clear it will cancel funding for the program if the Swiss deal fails to navigate a series of hurdles. In Sweden, the concern is that Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt’s center-right administration might bow to rising national debt pressures and reduce the buy of JAS Gripen-NG E/F aircraft. (Source: Defense News)

19 Nov 12. ESA Council Meeting Jeopardized By Discord. In 2008, with Europe headed into recession, the European Space Agency approved a €10bn ($13bn) multiyear space spending program, saying that an economic downturn was no time to cut investment in research and technology development that could stimulate much-needed growth. Four years later, with Europe further mired in financial turmoil, these same governments are meeting to decide a fresh set of spending for the agency’s programs and operations in the coming years. But with many big contributors facing severe spending cuts at home, it is far from clear whether member states will have the same appeti

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