11 Jun 16. UK Birthday Honours: Two Military Knights. Among the Birthday Honours (11 Jun 16) there were two Knight Commanders of the Order of the Bath (KCB): General G K Messenger CB DSO OBE and Lieutenant General J G Lorimer DSO MBE.
Comment: A full list of the Birthday Honours can be found on the 10 Downing Street website via the Government GOV.UK web portal (www.gov.uk). (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 16/23, 13 Jun 16)
06 Jun 16. Iraq and Syria: OP SHADER. On 2 Jun 16 Tornados and Typhoons provided close air support over Fallujah while other Typhoons patrolled over Northern Iraq. On the following day Typhoons conducted further strikes in the Fallujah area, supporting Iraqi efforts to liberate the city. On 4 Jun 16 Reapers worked closely with Iraqi ground forces around Fallujah and on the next day Tornados patrolled over the town. In summary, the offensive by Iraqi ground forces to liberate Fallujah continued to be the major focus for the RAF contribution to the air campaign against Daesh. (MoD, 6 Jun 16.)
The Armed Forces. Minister visited the UK Headquarters for the combined counter-Daesh operations, RAF Reaper launch and recovery elements and the Combined Air Operations Centre in the Middle East. (MoD, 7 Jun 16.)
RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus continues to be the main operating base for RAF assets contributing to the Operation, which include: Tornado, Typhoon, Hercules, Sentry, Sentinel & Voyager aircraft operating over Iraq and Syria. (MoD, 7 Jun 16.)
Comment: The House of Commons debated ‘International Syria Support Group: Airdrops.’ A record of the debate can be found in Hansard for 9 Jun 16, starting in Column 1137. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 16/23, 13 Jun 16)
06 Jun 16. South Sudan: Peacekeeping. The MoD confirmed (6 Jun 16) that the first UK Armed Forces personnel have arrived in South Sudan to support peacekeeping operations. UK personnel are to provide engineering work as well as “further advisory support, underlining the UK’s continued commitment to peace and security for the people of South Sudan”.
The UN reported (6 Jun 16) that a five-man team of military engineers from the UK arrived in Juba on 3 Jun 16. The next group of 30 was said to be expected in Juba in two weeks (i.e. by 20 Jun 16).
A House of Lords Written Answer (6 Jun 16) indicated that four of the five personnel deployed in South Sudan serve as Staff Officers within the UN Mission in South Sudan. The fifth person is the Defence Attaché at the
British Embassy in Juba.
Comment: On 8 Mar 16, the Armed Forces’ Minister confirmed that the UK was preparing to deploy about 300
troops to the UN mission in South Sudan, “focused on providing vital engineering support.” (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 16/23, 13 Jun 16)
06 Jun 16. Somalia: Peacekeeping. The House of Lords spokesman said (6 Jun 16) that the UK currently has 27 military personnel deployed in Somalia. In addition to the Defence Attaché and his Assistant at the British Embassy in Mogadishu, 25 personnel are supporting the UN and EU Missions; providing training, mentoring and logistical support to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and developing the Somali National Army. The purpose of the
Missions is to counter the terrorist threat from Al Shabaab and to help strengthen security and stability within Somalia and the wider East African region.
Comment: Brigadier Magowan CBE has replaced Major General M Smith MBE as Operational Commander for the EU Naval Force Somalia (EU NAVFOR OP ATALANTA). Both Officers are from the Royal Marines. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 16/23, 13 Jun 16)
09 Jun 16. Challenger 2 MBT: Numbers. The Defence Procurement Minister said (9 Jun 16) that the current Challenger 2 fleet consists of 227 main battle tanks, all of which would be available for operational use if required.
Comment: Three Regiments are equipped with the Challenger 2 MBT: The King’s Royal Hussars and The Royal Tank Regime