11 Jul 16. Iraq and Syria: OP SHADER. On 7 Jul 16 Typhoons struck Daesh extremists in Western Iraq while Tornados and a Reaper attacked terrorists in the North. On the following day Typhoons provided support to Iraqi forces along the Euphrates valley while a Reaper supported troops near Sharqat. On 9 Jul 16 a Reaper destroyed a Daesh vehicle in Northern Iraq.
Tornados recorded hits on seven targets in Western and Northern Iraq on 10 Jul 16. (MoD, 11 Jul 16.)
On 11 Jul 16 Tornados attacked a Daesh mortar position in Northern Iraq. During the next day Tornados bombed a meeting of terrorist commanders and destroyed two truck-bombs while Typhoons attacked two armed trucks in Northern Iraq. On 13 Jul 16 Typhoons destroyed a Daesh strong point in Northern Iraq as Tornados engaged two mortar positions near Hit. (MoD, 14 Jul 16.)
The number of Brimstone missiles released by RAF aircraft engaged on OP SHADER up to and including 11 Jul 16 is: 175 in Iraq and 19 in Syria. (Armed Forces’ Minister, 14 Jul 16.)
Comment: On 14 Jul 16 the MoD reported that RAF aircraft had continued ‘round-the-clock’ air operations
against Daesh terrorists in Iraq and Syria over recent days. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 16/28, 18 Jul 16)
11 Jul 16. Watchkeeper: Training on Ascension Island. It was confirmed (11 Jul 16) that elements of 47 Regiment Royal Artillery have deployed to Ascension Island in the South Atlantic, in order to conduct training on the Watchkeeper tactical unmanned air system (TUAS). Supported by soldiers from 74 Support Battery Royal Artillery and instructors from the Royal School of Artillery, the programme aims to train 16 pilots for the first operational battery during 2016.
Comment: The Watchkeeper pilot course started in January 2016 with students undertaking a theory package and simulator flying training at Larkhill. Wideawake Airfield on Ascension Island is said to provide “ideal conditions” for unmanned air systems. training. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 16/28, 18 Jul 16)
15 Jul 16. Voyager: Ready for Dual Use. The MoD announced (5 Jul 16) that an RAF Voyager aircraft has been converted to provide travel for the Royal Family and Government Ministers, while continuing to perform air-to-air refuelling in support of RAF and allied aircraft. The aircraft’s first VIP flight took place on 8 Jul 16 when the Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary and the Defence Secretary were flown to Warsaw for the NATO Summit.
Comment: The Voyager contract was signed in March 2008 and, at £10,500m is the largest private finance initiative to date. The 27-year agreement is to equip, maintain and support a core fleet of nine Voyager aircraft
with the MoD having optional capability rights on a further five aircraft. Under the agreement the RAF leases the capability from Air Tanker. Voyager is a modified Airbus A330-200. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 16/28, 18 Jul 16)
14 Jul 16. The Comptroller and Auditor General has qualified (14 Jul 16) his audit opinion on the MoD’s accounts for the seventh year running; because the Department has not complied with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) regarding lease contracts. The Comptroller’s report can be viewed on the National Audit Office website (www.nao.org.uk). “Larry the cat will not be evicted from Downing Street, Cabinet Office confirms.” (PA Headline, 12 Jul 16.) (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 16/28, 18 Jul 16)
15 Jul 16. UK Ministry of Defence celebrates innovation in British Defence Companies. The UK Defence Secretary congratulated award-winning businesses at the Farnborough International Air show this week.
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon met a number of British based small and medium sized companies which won awards in the MOD-funded Defence Growth Partnership Innovation Challenge, run in partnership between the Defence Solutions Centre and the MOD.
The Defence Secretary was also given a tour of the UK Defence