05 Jul 16. Iraq and Syria: OP SHADER. On 30 Jun 16 Tornados destroyed five Daesh vehicles in Western Iraq while Typhoons and a Reaper attacked two mortar teams and two terrorist groups in Northern Iraq. On 1 Jul 16 Tornados bombed a defensive position in Northern Iraq. Two days later Reapers supported Iraqi operations near Sharqat as Typhoons attacked targets in the West and Tornados hit another target in the North West of Iraq. (MoD, 5 Jul 16.)
The UK is providing support to the Iraqi Security Forces through RAF air strikes, military assistance and training, alongside our coalition partners. (HoC, 6 Jul 16.)
On 4 Jul 16 Typhoons attacked Daesh positions in Northern Iraq, destroying rocket-launchers and a terrorist muster point. On the following day Typhoons were again in action in Northern Iraq, destroying a mortar team. On 6 Jul 16 Tornados attacked an improvised Daesh river crossing while a Reaper struck two terrorist targets. (MoD, 7 Jul 16.)
The Defence Secretary praised the “decisive difference” made by the RAF in the liberation of Fallujah. RAF pilots have now flown over 2,800 missions in Iraq and Syria. (MoD, 7 Jul 16.)
UK personnel have already made a key contribution to building the capacity of Iraqi Security Forces by training over 14,200 troops in countering improvised explosive devices, in addition to medical and infantry skills. (Armed Forces’ Minister, 8 Jul 16.)
Comment: The Foreign Office advises that the UK is working with the Coalition to support the Government of Iraq in developing plans to stabilise areas, like Fallujah, which have been liberated from Daesh.
(Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 16/27, 11 Jul 16)
08 Jul 16. NATO Summit: UK Commitments. During the NATO Summit held in Warsaw (8 & 9 Jul 16) the Defence Secretary confirmed details of a Defence support package for Allies in the East of Europe:-
. 500 troops to Estonia in early 2017 to provide reassurance and to react immediately to any crisis or incident.. High readiness troops on standby to deploy within days, wherever needed on Alliance territory. (See
also DNA Issue 16/18 of 9 May 16.)
. Deployment of some 150 personnel with equipment to operate and train alongside Polish troops in
order to improve interoperability.
. A target to train 4,000 Ukrainian soldiers by the end of March 2017.
Comment: The Defence Secretary met (8 Jul 16) his Finnish counterpart during the Summit and signed a framework agreement for Defence Co-operation between Finland and the UK. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 16/27, 11 Jul 16)
09 Jul 16. Afghanistan: Further Support. The Defence Secretary announced (9 Jul 16) the deployment of 50 additional troops to Kabul in 2017, to join 450 personnel already serving in Afghanistan. The troops will contribute to the training and mentoring of Afghan Forces which includes the UK-led Afghan National Army Officer Academy as well as support to the Afghan Air Force. Personnel will also work alongside NATO Allies as advisers in the mission’s headquarters in Kabul and in the Afghan Security Ministries.
Comment: The above announcement follows an earlier commitment (20 May 16) to continue providing £70m per annum in support of Afghanistan’s Defence and Security Forces until 2020. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 16/27, 11 Jul 16)
08 Jul 16. Women: Increased Opportunities. The Prime Minister “welcomed” (8 Jul 16) the recommendations of the Chief of the General Staff that the ban on women serving in ground close combat roles should be lifted. Combat roles are to be opened to women in a “phased approach” over the next three years. Women are to be allowed to serve in all roles within certain units of the Royal Armoured Corps (RAC) from November 2016 (subject to review after six months). In addition to the RAC, the change in rules will eventually apply to roles in the Royal Marines, the Infantry and the Royal Air Force Regiment (all of which are to be opened up to women by the end of 2