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08 Apr 13. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. The Royal Danish Air Force detachment which has been deployed with 903 and 904 Expeditionary Air Wings completed its last flight and left Afghanistan. (RAF, 8 Apr 13.)
The MoD expects estimated costs for the withdrawal from Afghanistan to be produced “in the Summer”. (Written Answer (WA), 10 Apr 13.)
The Force level in Afghanistan is reducing from 9,000 to around 5,200 by the end of 2013. The number is kept under review. (WA, 10 Apr 13.)
A review of severance policy towards locally engaged staff is being conducted, as the UK’s presence in Afghanistan decreases. (WA, 10 Apr 13.)
1 Mechanized Brigade took over the duties of Task Force Helmand from 4 Mechanized Brigade, marking the start of OP HERRICK 18. Danish, Estonian and US representatives attended the handover ceremony at Lashkar Gah. OP HERRICK 17 saw the number of bases in Helmand Province occupied by British troops reduced from 37 to 12. (MoD, 10 Apr 13.)
Comment: The Defence Select Committee released (10 Apr 13) a Report on ‘Securing the Future of Afghanistan’. The Report draws attention to the planned withdrawal of combat troops by the end of 2014 and the transfer of responsibility for security to the Afghan National Security Forces. The Report also raises concerns that Afghan Forces may lack helicopter support and adequate medical coverage. The Report is published as HC 413, for £23:00. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 13/15, 15 Apr 13)
10 Apr 13. Group of Eight (G8): Foreign Ministers Meet. G8 Foreign Ministers met in London (10/11 Apr 13). The Ministers “addressed a number of international issues, challenges and opportunities that impact on global peace, security and prosperity”.
Comment: A comprehensive record of the meeting is available via the Foreign Office page of the Government website (www.gov.uk/fco). G8 is defined as “the group of the eight most industrialised nations in the world” i.e. Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the UK and the US. The UK is hosting a G8 summit at the Lough Erne golf resort in Co Fermanagh on 17/18 Jun 13. 4,500 members of the Police Service of Northern Ireland are to be assisted in their security duties by 3,500 Police Officers from the mainland (according to the Press Association on 12 Apr 13). (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 13/15, 15 Apr 13) (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 13/15, 15 Apr 13)
13 Apr 13. Houses of Parliament: Returning. The House of Commons returns on Mon 15 Apr 13 and the House of Lords returns on Mon 22 Apr 13.
(Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 13/15, 15 Apr 13)
10 Apr 13. Depleted Uranium (DU) Ammunition: Safety Concerns. Parliamentary Questions continue to be asked about DU ammunition. Most recently such questions were answered in the House of Commons on 4 Mar 13, 5 Mar 13 and two on 10 Apr 13. One of the Answers given on 10 Apr 13 concluded that “there was no need for specific testing” of the ammunition.
Comment: The Challenger main battle tanks’ 120mm anti-tank round is the only in-service DU munition. Two 120mm armour-piercing, fin-stabilised, discarding sabot (APFSDS) rounds are available: those with a tungsten penetrator which are used in training and those with a DU penetrator which may be used on Operations. A legal Review of the ammunition, known as Charm-3, concluded on 12 Jul 12 that: “The UK policy remains that DU can be used within weapons; it is not prohibited under current or likely future international agreements.” (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 13/15, 15 Apr 13)
18 Mar 13. SIPRI: Arms Transfers. SIPRI published (18 Mar 13) new data on international arms transfers. Overall, the volume of international