19 Apr 16. Iraq and Syria: OP SHADER. On 13 Apr 16 Typhoons and Tornados conducted attacks in Northern and Western Iraq, destroying heavy weapons and a truck-bomb. On the following day Typhoons and Tornados struck additional Daesh targets in Northern and Western Iraq. Tornados attacked a mortar position in Northern Syria on 17 Apr 16, as Typhoons bombed Daesh positions in Northern Iraq. Typhoons and Tornados returned to Northern and Western Iraq on 18 Apr 16, bombing terrorist targets. (MoD, 19 Apr 16.)
Comment: Iraqi counter-terrorist forces, supported by RAF and other coalition aircraft, are said to “have made good progress in clearing Daesh extremists out of the town of Hit, strategically located on the Southern bank of the Euphrates in Western Iraq.” (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 16/16, 25 Apr 16)
21 Apr 16. France/UK: Collaboration. The Defence Secretary announced (21 Apr 16) that the Combined UK and French Joint Expeditionary Force
(CJEF) has “moved from concept to reality” with over 5,000 personnel from the two countries coming together for EX GRIFFIN STRIKE. The Exercise, involving a joint French/UK Headquarters planning and executing military activities, saw the CJEF demonstrate ‘full validation of concept’ (meaning that it is available for Operations). The CJEF will ultimately enable France and the UK to deploy forces rapidly to conflict zones
ahead of a wider NATO or Coalition Operation, or to meet peace-keeping, disaster relief or humanitarian assistance requirements.
Comment: The CJEF has been developed since 2010 as a product of the bilateral Lancaster House Treaty. While over 1,700 French and 3,500 UK personnel were involved in EX GRIFFIN STRIKE, over 3,400 additional
NATO troops from 15 nations were taking part in EX JOINT WARRIOR. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 16/16, 25 Apr 16)
20 Apr 16. Falkland Islands: Naval Protection. The Armed Forces. Minister said (20 Apr 16) that the Royal Navy has a permanent presence in the South Atlantic in the form of the Falkland Islands Patrol Vessel (HMS CLYDE) supported by a Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship. The Ice Patrol Ship, HMS PROTECTOR, also operates in the South Atlantic region for periods of the year. The Minister added that other RN ships continue on normal operations in the Atlantic and would be re-tasked to the Falkland Islands if required.
Comment: There is growing concern that the Royal Navy does not have enough ‘escorts’ (destroyers & frigates) to undertake its various tasks. The Type 23 frigate HMS LANCASTER was withdrawn from the South Atlantic in early December 2015. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 16/16, 25 Apr 16)
19 Apr 16. Saudi Arabia: Hawk Aircraft. The Defence Procurement Minister confirmed (19 Apr 16) that the first two of 22 Hawk Advanced Jet Trainers ordered by the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) on 22 May 12 were delivered to Saudi Arabia on 6 Apr 16, with the balance due for delivery by mid-2017. The Minister also said that there are 40 personnel contracted to BAE Systems providing Hawk flying training in Saudi Arabia, including one person seconded from the RAF.
Comment: The Minister confirmed that the RSAF has agreed to purchase a further 22 Hawks, as recorded in BAE’s results on 18 Feb 16. Riyadh’s latest order is believed to include replacements for those trainers currently operated by the Saudi aerobatic display team, although this has not been confirmed. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 16/16, 25 Apr 16)
18 Apr 16. Ballistic Missile Submarines: Successor Programme. The Defence Procurement Minister said (18 Apr 16) that the MoD’s latest estimate for the manufacture of four Successor submarines is likely to cost £31bn (£31,000m), including inflation over the lifetime of the
programme. In addition, there will be a ‘contingency’ of £10bn (£10,000m).
Comment: By coincidence, the Successor programme formed part of the House of Commons Oral Answers on 18 Apr 16. Successor was described