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28 Jan 13. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. No final decision has been made on the UK’s presence in Afghanistan after 2014, but UK troops will not operate in a combat role or be in significant numbers. The UK is leading the collective effort establishing the Afghan National Army Officer Academy in Kabul. (Written Answer (WA), 28 Jan 13.)
Reaper will continue to be operated in support of UK ground forces until the end of combat Operations. No decisions have been taken on the longer term use of Reaper equipment after 2014. (WA, 19 Jan 13.)
Final decisions on what equipment will be returned to the UK have not yet been taken and will be decided on a case by case basis. (WA, 31 Jan 13.)
In the period from 19 to 25 Jan 13, 906 Expeditionary Air Wing handled almost 2,300 passengers and over 130 tonnes of freight. (RAF Ops Update, 1 Feb 13.)
Comment: The Armed Forces’ Minister indicated (31 Jan 13) that the return of equipment from Afghanistan to the UK started on 1 Oct 12. Such equipment is being refurbished “at varying locations”.
The Prime Minister hosted a ‘trilateral’ for the leaders of Afghanistan and Pakistan at Chequers on 3/4 Feb 13. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 13/06, 04 Feb 13)

29 Jan 13. Mali: OP NEWCOMBE. The Defence Secretary made a Statement in the House of Commons (29 Jan 13) on the Deployment to Mali. Following the original deployment of two C-17 aircraft, logistical support to the French is to be continued with the provision of one C-17 aircraft for a further three months. There are about 20 people deployed in Bamako. A Sentinel R1 aircraft has been deployed to Dakar, Senegal with support staff of about 70. The UK is prepared to contribute up to 40 personnel to the EU Training Mission and is also prepared to offer up to 200 personnel to provide training for troops from Anglophone West African countries. (Hansard, 29 Jan 13, Column 781 et seq.)
Currently the UK is providing one C-17 and one Sentinel airborne surveillance aircraft. The C-17s moved French armoured vehicles, personnel and stores to Mali. (WA, 31 Jan 13.)
There are currently some 20 personnel deployed in Bamako. (WA, 31 Jan 13.)
C-17s from 99 Squadron fly into Afghanistan and Mali every day in addition to supporting medevac and other short notice taskings. (RAF website, 1 Feb 13.)
Comment: On 21 Jan 13, the Prime Minister declared that any British contribution to the EU Training Mission would be “in the tens, not in the hundreds”. (‘Hansard’, 21 Jan 13, Column 33.)
The RUSI produced an Analysis (31 Jan 13), concluding that: “As the UK sends 330 personnel to assist France’s military intervention in Mali, there are real concerns that, like Afghanistan, the UK will be mired in another intractable conflict. However, the strategic conditions are very different for this to happen and it is wrong to assume there will be mission creep.” (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 13/06, 04 Feb 13)

31 Jan 13. Defence Equipment Plan: Publication. The Defence Secretary published (31 Jan 13) a summary of the MoD’s core equipment plan as The Defence Equipment Plan 2012. The document sets out the Equipment Plan as at the end of Planning Round 2012, which ended in May 2012 and all figures are as at that date. The 10-year Budget and the Spending Plans for the same period are tabulated at page 3. The MoD currently spends some 40% of its Budget on equipment and equipment support. The proportion is forecast to increase to 45% by the end of the decade. In the early years of the Plan, around 80% of the programme is contractually or otherwise committed and this figure falls to 20% by the end of the 10-year period. (This 80% to 20% committed over 10 years ratio has altered little during recent me

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