07 Mar 16. Iraq and Syria: OP SHADER. On 1 Mar 16 Typhoons destroyed a howitzer in Western Iraq and on the next day Tornados and Typhoons
conducted eight attacks in Northern Iraq while a Reaper destroyed an armed vehicle in Eastern Syria. On 3 Mar 16 Typhoons destroyed a terrorist meeting place in Northern Iraq and conducted a similar attack on the following day. Typhoons launched 16 Paveway to destroy a weapons factory in Western Iraq on 5 Mar 16 and deployed again on 6 Mar 16 in support of Kurdish forces. On 7 Mar 16 a Reaper destroyed a terrorist-held building in Western Iraq. (MoD, 7 Mar 16.)
The House of Lords discussed Syria and the prospects for a political solution to the civil war on 8 Mar 16. (Hansard, Column 1234 et seq.)
“The UK has stepped up action against Daesh in Iraq and Syria as part of a surge to destroy the terror group’s command centres. Since the start of the year, RAF combat crews have tripled the number of missions flown….” (RAF News, 11 Mar 16.)
The Armed Forces. Minister said that missiles launched by the RAF between 24 Jan and 9 Mar 16 were: Brimstone – 14 (Iraq) & 14 (Syria); Hellfire – 7 & 8 and Paveway IV – 166 & 21. (Hansard, 11 Mar 16.)
On 7 Mar 16 Typhoons bombed Daesh fighters in Northern Iraq which were also attacked by Tornados and
Typhoons on the following day. Tornados and Typhoons conducted four attacks in Northern and Western Iraq
on 9 Mar 16 and five similar attacks were carried out on the following day. (MoD, 11 Mar 16.)
Following media reports that “dozens” more troops are being sent to Iraq, the Defence Secretary said: “Now is the time to step up our training of Iraqi forces, as they prepare for operations in key cities such as Fallujah and Mosul”. (MoD, 12 Mar 16.)
Comment: The Armed Forces. Minister observed (4 Mar 16) that the UK is one of over 60 nations contributing to the US-led OP INHERENT RESOLVE (to defeat Daesh in Iraq and Syria). The number of UK personnel involved is around 2,000, of whom about 1,000 are deployed “across the region”. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 16/11, 14 Mar 16)
07 Mar 16. RFA Mounts Bay: Deploying to the Aegean. The Prime Minister announced (7 Mar 16) that RFA Mounts Bay, supported by a Wildcat helicopter, was deploying to the Aegean Sea as part of the international response to the migrant crisis. In support are three Border Force boats: VOS Grace, the cutter Protector and a further Border Force cutter.
Comment: The international response is represented by Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2). The Group’s flagship is the German FGS BONN and also includes the Canadian frigate HMCS FREDERICTON, the
Greek frigate HS SALAMIS and the Turkish frigate TCG BARBAROS (and is now joined by RFA Mounts Bay). The Mediterranean deployment was debated in the House of Commons on 7 Mar 16 (and is recorded in Hansard for the day, starting in Column 23). (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 16/11, 14 Mar 16)
08 Mar 16. Armed Forces’ Pay Review: Small Increase. The Defence Secretary announced (8 Mar 16) publication of the 2016 report of the Armed Forces. Pay Review Body (AFPRB). The AFPRB recommendations are to be accepted in full and will become effective from 1 Apr 16.
Comment: The military salaries now published only show the rates for all ranks up to and including Commodore/Brigadier/Air Commodore. Broadly speaking the new rates reflect an increase of one percent. A
comprehensive table will be published in DNA when the revised rates for the most senior (two, three and four star Officers) are available.
(Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 16/11, 14 Mar 16)
10 Mar 16. Bowman Communications: Enhancements. The Defence Secretary announced (10 Mar 16) a new contract “to provide enhanced communications kit” to the Armed Forces. The £175m investment in Bowman tactical communications equipment is designed to enable the system to continue to operate for the next decade. Of the £175m, £75m is earmarked for 12,000