08 Aug 16. Iraq and Syria: OP SHADER. On 2 Aug 16 a Reaper provided close air support to Iraqi troops near Qayyarah while Typhoons supported
Syrian forces fighting in Manbij. On the following day Tornados destroyed a Daesh mortar near Mosul.
Typhoons attacked two terrorist positions in the Euphrates Valley on 5 Aug 16 as Tornados bombed a machine-gun position in North West Iraq. On 7 Aug 16 Tornados destroyed some Daesh tankers in a Syrian oilfield as Typhoons and a Reaper provided close air support in Northern Iraq. (MoD, 8 Aug 16.)
The UK Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN at the Security Council suggested (8 Aug 16) a way forward in Syria: “So stopping bombing, letting aid in and stopping the destruction of medical supplies and
medical facilities, these have to be the very basic minimum of what we do now.”. (FCO, 9 Aug 16.)
On 8 Aug 16 Typhoons bombed an artillery piece East of Mosul while a Reaper destroyed a terrorist vehicle near Qayyarah. A Reaper continued to provide close air support near Qayyarah on 9 Aug 16 as Typhoons
struck a further four Daesh targets in the Mosul area. On 10 Aug 16 a Reaper assisted Syrian forces in combat near Manbij while Typhoons attacked an armoured vehicle in Western Iraq. (MoD, 12 Aug 16.)
Comment: On 12 Aug 16 the MoD advised that Tornados had conducted extensive reconnaissance missions over Syria and Iraq “in the past few days”. Typhoons and Reapers were said to “have delivered a series of
strikes against Daesh positions in both Countries”. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 16/32, 15 Aug 16)
04 Aug 16. Estonia: Air Policing. The MoD advised (4 Aug 16) that 16 Regiment Royal Artillery had deployed to Estonia under NATO’s Trans-Atlantic Capability Enhancement and Training (TACET) initiative. Personnel from the Regiment deployed to Estonia “to help develop their host’s understanding of Ground Based Air Defence and exercise the effective Command and Control that is needed to conduct Airfield Defence operations”.
The MoD further advised (9 Aug 16) that the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) had visited 140 Expeditionary Air Wing (EAW) at Ämari Air Base in Estonia. 140 EAW consists mainly of personnel from RAF Lossiemouth, with Typhoons provided by II (Army Co-operation) Squadron.
Comment: 140 UK military personnel and four RAF Typhoons are currently deployed on NATO’s Baltic Air Policing Mission. The deployment started on 28 Apr 16 from Ämari and also supports Portuguese F-16s operating from Šiauliai in Lithuania. (The coincidence of the number 140 could not be avoided!) (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 16/32, 15 Aug 16)
07 Aug 16. Successor Submarine Programme: RAG Rating. The MoD reacted to newspaper reports on 7 & 8 Aug 16 that the programme to replace Trident SSBN submarines was “in major doubt”. The MoD reaction was: “We are determined to get the Successor programme right, that’s why we have established a new Director General Nuclear sponsor organisation and will set up a new submarine delivery body….”.
Comment: The UK’s nuclear deterrent was debated in the House of Lords on 13 Jul 16 and in the House of Commons on 18 Jul 16. The Infrastructure and Projects Authority (previously the Major Projects Authority) published the Government’s updated Major Projects Portfolio (7 Jul 16) which included data on the Successor SSBN programme, currently rated as Amber/Red. [The five point RAG (red, amber, green) scale is: Red – Amber/Red – Amber – Amber/Green – Green.] (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 16/32, 15 Aug 16)
28 Jul 16. Merlin Mk2: Upgraded. Lockheed Martin UK confirmed (28 Jul 16) that the MoD had taken delivery of the 30th upgraded Merlin Mk2 helicopter from industry. Under a £750m contract, 30 Mk1 helicopters have been upgraded to extend their life with the Royal Navy. The Merlin Mk2s have new radars, sonar systems, infra-red cameras and large panel displays giving greater situational awareness to the pilot. The Merlin Mk2 is de