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10 Jan 14. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. Joint Force Support (Afghanistan) works in parallel with Task Force Helmand to assist the UK’s Armed Forces across Afghanistan. (Soldier, January 2014.)
2,912 UK Armed Forces personnel were aeromedically evacuated from Afghanistan to the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine between 1 Jan 03 and 31 Oct 13. Of those evacuated, 279 were medically discharged from the Armed Forces before 31 Mar 13 and 1,889 were still in the Armed Forces on 1 Nov 13. (Written Answer, 7 Jan 14.)
The UK now has four bases in addition to Camp Bastion, down from 137 bases at the height of the conflict. (MoD, 10 Jan 14.)
Comment: Soldier (January 2014) published a letter from an anonymous military person complaining about the stock in the NAAFI shop at ISAF Headquarters. It does seem odd that some can be awarded campaign medals when their main concern is the lack of provisions in the shop. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 14/03, 13 Jan 14)
06 Jan 14. Central African Republic: OP SANGARIS. The Armed Forces’ Minister confirmed (6 Jan 14) that the RAF has undertaken three C-17 return flights to Bangui, at the request of the French President, to help move French military equipment.
Comment: The Minister went on to say that Franco-British military co-operation in the framework of the Lancaster House Treaties “continues to deliver steady progress towards our shared objectives”. French air transport difficulties are expected to ease as the A400M enters service from this year (2014) onwards. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 14/03, 13 Jan 14)
10 Jan 14. HMS ILLUSTRIOUS: Back Home. HMS ILLUSTRIOUS returned to the UK on 10 Jan 14. The carrier is to “undergo essential maintenance in Portsmouth before deploying again later in the year”. A dockyard fire in Portsmouth was not connected to the return of HMS ILLUSTRIOUS.
Comment: The Defence Equipment Minister told the House of Commons in a Written Statement (15 Oct 13) that HMS ILLUSTRIOUS “is due to retire from service with the Royal Navy in 2014”. A competition has been launched “to seek innovative reuse bids to retain the ship in the UK, with part or all of it developed for heritage purposes.” (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 14/03, 13 Jan 14)
06 Jan 14. Gibraltar: Unlawful Incursions. In a Written Answer (6 Jan 14), a Foreign Office Minister said that there had been 509 unlawful incursions into British Gibraltar Territorial Waters by Spanish State vessels in the period from December 2012 to November 2013. British sovereignty is upheld by challenging all unlawful incursions by Spanish State vessels, through radio warnings and the close monitoring of all such vessels until they leave British Gibraltar Territorial Waters. In a separate Written Answer (8 Jan 14) the International Security Minister said that HM Naval Base in Gibraltar is regularly used by the navies of the UK’s allies and partners. The RN and the RFA do not conduct courtesy visits to Gibraltar; all ships visits are for Operational reasons and these will continue as required.
Comment: The Spanish Ambassador to London has been regularly summoned to the Foreign Office to receive complaints about unlawful incursions. In addition, the Prime Minister raised the matter with the President of the European Commission on 20 Dec 13. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 14/03, 13 Jan 14)
07 Jan 14. Burma: Training Provided. The Lords’ spokesman on Defence said (7 Jan 14) that £87,850 is allocated for the Managing Defence in the Wider Security Context course being held in Burma during January 2014. Five personnel from the UK Defence Academy and Cranfield University will travel to, and be accommodated in Burma to