05 Dec 16. Iraq and Syria: OP SHADER. On 28 Nov 16 Typhoons destroyed a terrorist-held building and a tunnel entrance in Northern and Western Iraq as a Reaper engaged Daesh targets near Mosul. On 29 Nov 16 Tornados and a Reaper engaged targets near Mosul, as Typhoons destroyed a weapons stockpile near Qayyarah. On 3 Dec 16 a Reaper attacked a mortar
near Mosul. Tornados bombed a Daesh weapons factory and a Headquarters on 4 Dec 16 as a Reaper provided close air support around Mosul. (MoD, 5 Dec 16.)
“The Syrian Network for Human Rights reported that 203,000 civilians had been killed between March 2011 and November 2016 and that 92% of them were victims of the Assad regime.” (FCO Minister, 5 Dec 16.)
Some 150 members of 2nd Bn The Duke of Lancaster’s Regt started to deploy to Iraq, as part of the 500-strong British Army force. The British soldiers are expected to spend six months training Iraqi and Kurdish Security Forces. (MoD (Army), 6 Dec 16.)
Comment: Very bad weather, including violent thunder storms, seriously hampered Air Operations for several days (as reflected above). Conditions improved sufficiently for a Reaper to resume Operations on 3 Dec 16. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 16/48, 12 Dec 16)
06 Dec 16. Bahrain: Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC). The Prime Minister attended the GCC in Bahrain (6/7 Dec 16) “to re-affirm and deepen the strong partnership and co-operation between the GCC and the UK”. The leaders agreed to launch the GCC-UK Strategic Partnership “to foster closer relations in all fields, including: Political, Defence, Security and Trade”.
Comment: The Prime Minister also announced the establishment of a permanent British Defence Staff in Dubai and a dedicated Military Officer embedded with the Bahraini Ministry of Interior bomb disposal unit. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 16/48, 12 Dec 16)
04 Dec 16. Protector Remotely Piloted Air System (RPAS): Development. The Defence Secretary announced (4 Dec 16) that a £100m contract has been agreed to develop the Protector RPAS for the RAF. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc is to develop its current drone technology “into new cutting-edge unmanned aerial vehicles.”. Protector, based on the Certifiable Predator B, is to be equipped with the latest technology including advanced imaging and enhanced data link technology.
Comment: Previously known as the Scavenger programme, Protector was the subject of a Written Parliamentary Statement on 12 Oct 15. The Statement indicated that the 10 current Reapers are to be replaced “with over 20 of the very latest air vehicles”. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 16/48, 12 Dec 16)
08 Dec 16. Brimstone: Planned for Protector. MBDA announced (8 Dec 16) that the Company’s Brimstone missile was being planned as the UK’s guided missile solution for the Protector RPAS programme (Item 3). If confirmed, Predator B will enter service with Brimstone. The integration plan is included in the MoD’s Main Gate selection of the aircraft and, if agreed, the missile will be integrated and fielded with the RPAS. introduction to service.
Comment: The Defence Procurement Minister had earlier (5 Sep 16) confirmed that the planned in-service date for the integration of the Brimstone 2 missile system on the Typhoon is December 2018. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 16/48, 12 Dec 16)
08 Dec 16. Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV): An Additional Two. The Defence Procurement Minister announced (8 Dec 16) that the MoD has signed a manufacturing and support contract worth £287m to build two additional OPV for the RN. The Minister announced that the two OPV are to be named TAMAR and SPEY. BAE Systems confirmed that the total value of the five ship programme, including support services, is £635m.
Comment: BAE Systems confirmed the OPV programme: Construction started for FORTH – October 2014; Construction started for MEDWAY – June 2015; Construction started for TRENT – October 2015; FORTH due to