01 Jan 16. New Year Honours 2016: Senior Appointments. Three members of the Defence Council received State Honours in the New Year Honours List. Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach was appointed as Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire (GBE) while Admiral Sir George Zambellas and Air Chief Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford were appointed as Knights Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath (GCB).
Comment: Such honours have become routine for members of the Defence Council. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 16/01, 04 Jan 16)
09 Dec 15. Iraq and Syria: OP SHADER. Operations against the Daesh terrorist network continued at a high intensity over the holiday period, with RAF aircraft conducting air strikes in Syria and Iraq. Armed reconnaissance missions have been flown daily by Tornado GR4, Typhoon FGR4 and Reaper aircraft; focusing on supporting the Iraqi security forces during their offensive Operations in Ramadi as well as the area around Mosul. (MoD, 9, 11, 15, 20 & 28 Dec 15.)
The UK has 16 manned aircraft flying combat missions against Daesh in Syria and Iraq. As well as Tornado and Typhoon aircraft there are a number of Reaper remotely piloted aircraft systems flying combat missions
over the two Countries. (Defence Secretary, 17 Dec 15.)
Comment: The other coalition partners that have flown combat missions in Syria against Daesh are: Australia, Bahrain, Canada, France, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the UAE and the US. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 16/01, 04 Jan 16)
14 Dec 15. Afghanistan: OP RESOLUTE SUPPORT. 68 Brimstone missile weapon releases occurred during OP HERRICK. (Armed Forces Minister, 14 Dec 15.)
On 4 Dec 15 the FCO contributed £70m towards the sustainment of the Afghan National Defence & Security
Forces. The contribution supports Afghan National Police salaries. (Written Statement, 15 Dec 15.)
A small number of UK personnel have deployed to Camp Shorabak in Helmand Province in an advisory role. These personnel are part of a larger NATO team advising the Afghan National Army. (MoD, 22 Dec 15.)
Comment: The MoD has confirmed (22 Dec 15) that the UK has around 450 troops in Afghanistan, mentoring and supporting the Afghan National Defence & Security Forces and the Afghan Security Ministries. The MoD
has neither confirmed nor denied newspaper reports about the involvement of Special Forces in the fighting around Sangin. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 16/01, 04 Jan 16)
06 Dec 15. Flooding: OP SHAKU. For many in the Armed Forces, the Christmas period was overshadowed by the need to provide assistance to those affected by flooding. Within hours of being tasked early on 6 Dec 15, soldiers were in Carlisle and Hutton to support other services, including those involved with the evacuation of Lancaster Hospital. By 29 Dec 15 there were some 600 Service personnel deployed in the North of England in support of the emergency services and local authorities, with a further 1,000 being held in reserve. Troops on the ground included those from The Light Dragoons, 2 LANCS, 2 YORKS and The Royal Logistic Corps. An RAF Chinook was tasked to move sandbags for the support of the River Douglas’ banks. On New Year’s Eve about 100 flood warnings remained in place for mainland UK, with military personnel continuing to support the relief effort.
Comment: On New Year’s Day, the Armed Forces. Minister thanked the Service men and women who had assisted with the emergency response to flooding. A Corporal from 2 LANCS was quoted as saying: “We’re really happy to be asked to assist, we.re soldiers and that’s what we do.” (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 16/01, 04 Jan 16)
10 Dec 15. Astute Class Submarines: Third Handed over. The third of the Astute Class of attack submarines, ARTFUL, was officially handed over to the Royal Navy by Defence Equipment & Support on 10 Dec 15. The next milestone for the boat will be a commissioning ceremony in March 2016 when her Sponsor, Lad