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24 Mar 14. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. The costs associated with the construction and operation of bases in Afghanistan from 2006/07 to 2012/13 totalled £656m. The 2013/14 costs are £62m and include those associated with ‘drawdown’. (Written Answer (WA), 24 Mar 14.)
There have been 875 vehicles returned from Afghanistan in 2013/14 so far. It is planned that 1,490 vehicles will be returned to the UK by the end of 2014. (WA, 27 Mar 14.)
The Foreign Secretary presented the 35th progress report on developments in Afghanistan since November 2010. The report is published on the Government web portal (www.gov.uk). (Written Statement, 27 Mar 14.)
Comment: Of the 875 vehicles so far returned from Afghanistan, 750 are now at OP HERRICK exchange points at Warminster and Lyneham. 50 vehicles have been reissued and 75 are with contractors for ‘recuperation’. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 14/14, 31 Mar 14)
29 Mar 14. Ukraine: Travel Restrictions. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) continues (29 Mar 14) to advise against all travel to Crimea and all but essential travel to the Eastern Regions of Kharkiv, Donetsk and Lugansk. British nationals in Crimea are being advised to leave immediately, particularly as the FCO is no longer able to provide consular services.
Comment: Some further details about the E-3D Sentry aircraft, from 8 Squadron RAF at Waddington, have been released. The aircraft is flying surveillance missions over Poland and Romania under NATO control and as tasked by NATO commanders. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 14/14, 31 Mar 14)
25 Mar 14. Baltic Air Security: RAF Stands By. The Armed Forces’ Minister said (25 Mar 14) that the UK has offered up to four Typhoons to NATO. The Typhoons would augment the Polish Baltic Air Policing rotation, which runs from 1 May to 31 Aug 14.
Comment: NATO assumed responsibility for policing the Baltic skies in 2004 and the task is shared by Allies on a four-month rotation. With the above offer, RAF Typhoons could fly out to the region if the Polish Air Force requested extra support. No decision has been made on where the Typhoons would be based if the British offer is accepted. A response from NATO is expected by 1 Apr 14. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 14/14, 31 Mar 14)
28 Mar 14. Tornado Reduction: Two Squadrons Disband. 12 (Bomber) Squadron and 617 Squadron (The Dambusters) took part (28 Mar 14) in a disbandment parade at RAF Lossiemouth taken by HRH The Duke of York. As part of the reduction in the number of Tornado GR4, 12(B) and 617 Squadrons are disbanding. RAF Lossiemouth is due to become a Main Operating Base for Typhoon while 617 Squadron is due to re-form in 2018 as the RAF’s first Lightning II Squadron.
Comment: Tornado Squadrons from RAF Marham are to continue to fulfil the role of Close Air Support in Afghanistan until the end of OP HERRICK.
(Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 14/14, 31 Mar 14)
24 Mar 14. TriStar: Farewell. The Lockheed TriStar has flown its last operational mission with the RAF (24 Mar 14). Two aircraft from 216 Squadron flew an air-to-air refuelling mission over the North Sea before one of them conducted flypasts at various airfields. The TriStar’s duties have been taken over by the Voyager.
Comment: The fleet of nine TriStar (3 x C2, 4 x KC1 & 2 x K1) were acquired as a direct result of the Falklands conflict and the need to provide support to the South Atlantic. In more recent times TriStars have provided air-to-air refuelling over Afghanistan and Libya as well as providing an air bridge to Iraq and Afghanistan. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 14/14, 31 Mar 14)
24 Mar 14. Flooding: OP PITCHPOLE. The Armed Forces’ M