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14 Apr 14. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. Army Air Corps Apache attack helicopters recently completed 50,000 hours flying in Afghanistan. Apache have been deployed on OP HERRICK since 2006; providing support to ground forces, tactical strike, reconnaissance and armed escort. (MoD, 14 Apr 14.)
Comment: A certain amount of controversy surrounded the publication of a book about OP HERRICK, written by a Captain in the Reserves. Dr M Martin resigned his commission and the book („An Intimate War.) has now been published: copies are available from The Sunday Times Bookshop (Tel: 0845 271 2135) at the discounted price of £20:00 each.
(Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 14/17, 28 Apr 14)
23 Apr 14. Ukraine: Tensions Remain High. The Foreign Secretary called (23 Apr 14) upon the Russian Foreign Minister to press for the immediate implementation of the 17 Apr 14 Geneva agreement. He urged Russia to take steps to de-escalate the situation in Eastern and Southern Ukraine and to join efforts by the Organisation for Security & Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Monitoring Mission in the East.
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued further travel advice for Ukraine on 26 Apr 14. The FCO advises against all travel to Crimea and Slovyansk in the Donetsk Region. The FCO also advises against all but essential travel to the Kharkiv & Lugansk Regions.
Flights in and out of Simferopol airport are subject to disruption. Ukrainian International Airlines have cancelled all flights in and out of Simferopol until 29 Apr 14.
Comment: Following an illegal referendum on 16 Mar 14, Russia annexed Crimea on 21 Mar 14. The FCO is not able to provide consular services in Crimea, where “tensions remain high”. The situation in Slovyansk was also uncertain, following reports (25 Apr 14) that members of an OSCE monitoring team had been seized. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 14/17, 28 Apr 14)
25 Apr 14. Mali: OP NEWCOMBE. The Council of the European Union (EU) extended the military training mission in Mali (EUTM Mali) by two years, until 18 May 16. EUTM Mali supports the training and reorganisation of the Malian Armed Forces and the extension of the mandate will allow for the military training of four additional Battalions. (Four Malian Battalions have already passed through the 10-week Koulikoro Training Camp programme.)
Comment: The EUTM, under French leadership, consists of some 420 personnel from 23 countries. The British-led contingent has 21 members of 1 RIFLES, assisted by six French and six Irish soldiers. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 14/17, 28 Apr 14)
24 Apr 14. Missing Aircraft: HMS TIRELESS Withdrawn. The MoD advised (24 Apr 14) that HMS TIRELESS has ended her contribution to the search for Flight MH370. The Australian authorities in command of the search have concluded that there is no prospect of further acoustic detections associated with the aircraft black boxes. In a 16-day period HMS TIRELESS, as the only submarine involved, searched some 7,000 nautical square miles.
Comment: HMS ECHO remains on call for the search, having been re-tasked on 19 Mar 14 and arriving in the search area on 2 Apr 14. As at 24 Apr 14, HMS ECHO was returning to port for replenishment. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 14/17, 28 Apr 14)
15 Apr 14. ARTISAN (Type 997): New Maritime Radar. The RN reported (15 Apr 14) that the new ARTISAN radar on board HMS IRON DUKE has been used for the first time to track a sea-skimming target. ARTISAN successfully tracked the target and passed the data to the Seawolf missile system to follow and shoot.
Comment: The ARTISAN, designated Type 997 by the RN, is claimed to set new standards in surveillance and tracking accuracy. Contract signature, with BAE Systems for £100m, was announced on 4