02 Dec 15. Iraq and Syria: OP SHADER. On 27 Nov 15 a Reaper was active over Ramadi and a second Reaper supported the Kurds South of Sinjar. A Tornado patrol over Western Iraq conducted four strikes around Ramadi and Haditha on 29 Nov 15 while on the following day Tornados were in action supporting the Kurds South of Sinjar. (MoD, 2 Dec 15.)
MPs voted by 397 to 223 (2 Dec 15), a majority of 174, in favour of extending British action against Daesh/ISIL
into its Syrian strongholds. The Defence Secretary confirmed that two additional Tornados and six Typhoons were being sent to Akrotiri. (PA, 3 Dec 15.)
Within hours of the above Parliamentary vote Tornados, supported by a Voyager refuelling tanker and a Reaper, employed Paveway IV bombs against six targets on an oilfield at Omar. (MoD, 3 Dec 15.) Overnight on
3/4 Dec 15, Tornado GR4s conducted missions over Syria and Iraq. (MoD, 4 Dec 15.) During the evening
of 4 Dec 15, Tornado GR4s and Typhoon FGR4s conducted a further series of strikes in the Daesh/ISIL-controlled oilfield at Omar. (MoD, 5 Dec 15.)
Comment: On 30 Nov 15, the Armed Forces Minister said that the aircraft “deployed in the fight against ISIL”
were: eight Tornados, two C-130 transport aircraft, one Voyager refuelling tanker, one Sentinel surveillance
aircraft, one Airseeker surveillance aircraft and Reaper remotely piloted air systems. As reflected above, two
additional Tornados and six Typhoons have now been added to the aircraft deployed to Akrotiri in Cyprus. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 15/48, 07 Dec 15)
02 Dec 15. Afghanistan: OP RESOLUTE SUPPORT. The Army website noted (2 Dec 15) that 160 soldiers from The Royal Regiment of Scotland (2 SCOTS, 5 SCOTS and 6 SCOTS) have deployed to Kabul on the second phase of an eight-month support mission. As part of the UK’s commitment to NATO’s mission in Afghanistan, the deployment includes enhancing the Kabul Security Force.
Comment: Combat Operations in Helmand Province ended in 2014. The above deployment is part of the UK’s commitment to Afghanistan and to providing the Country with the best training to allow the Government of Afghanistan to police and defend itself. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 15/48, 07 Dec 15)
30 Nov 15. Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF): Formation. The Defence Secretary committed (30 Nov 15) the UK to a leading role in the JEF; which is to include Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands and Norway. Formation could involve 10,000 troops to respond to crises. The JEF is to be a pool of forces which can react quickly to a range of circumstances; using combat power, conventional deterrence or humanitarian assistance.
Comment: An example of how the JEF might be deployed was given as the response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The UK.s contribution to the JEF is expected to include commando, airborne, armoured, aviation,
air and maritime task groups. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 15/48, 07 Dec 15)
30 Nov 15. Vanguard Class Submarines: Running Costs. The Defence Procurement Minister said (30 Nov 15) that the MoD “can safely manage and maintain the Vanguard boats until the Successor submarines are introduced into service in the early 2030s”. The running cost of the deterrent is around 6% of the Defence Budget per year. The MoD advised (4 Dec 15) that HMS VENGEANCE has left Devonport Dockyard following a Long Overhaul Period (Refuel) while HMS VANGUARD is due to start a scheduled Deep Maintenance Period (Refuel). HMS VENGEANCE has completed the Devonport part of a £350m refit and refuel programme while the MoD is due to sign a £200m (approximately) contract with Babcock for HMS VANGUARD’s maintenance period, which is expected to last for nearly four years.
Comment: The House of Commons debated ‘Trident’ on 24 Nov 15 (Hansard, starting in Column 1200). Navy Command had earlier (17 Aug 15) given the average annual running cost of HMS VANGUARD as £18.567m. (Source: DNA DEF