12 Dec 16. Iraq and Syria: OP SHADER. On 5 Dec 16 a Reaper supported Iraqi troops fighting in Eastern Mosul. On 7 Dec 16 Typhoons bombed a bunker in Western Iraq and a building North of Mosul as a Reaper struck three groups of terrorists. On 8 Dec 16 Tornados and a Reaper attacked targets in Southern Mosul. Typhoons demolished a Daesh-held building in Eastern Mosul on 9 Dec 16 as a Reaper struck three terrorist groups. (MoD, 12 Dec 16.)
The Defence Secretary hosted (15 Dec 16) the quarterly meeting of Defence Ministers from the Global Coalition against Daesh. (MoD, 15 Dec 16.)
On 15 Dec 16 Tornados provided close air support to Iraqi forces in Eastern and Northern Mosul. On 18 Dec 16 a Reaper destroyed a Daesh armoured truck while on 19 Dec 16 Typhoons struck terrorist accommodation East of Tall Afar. On 20 Dec 16 Tornados bombed a machine-gun team firing on Iraqi forces. Tornados destroyed a second machine-gun position in Eastern Mosul on 21 Dec 16 as Typhoons engaged a stockpile of Improvised Explosive Devices. (MoD, 22 Dec 16.)
On 22 Dec 16 Tornados destroyed a tank South West of Sinjar. On 23 Dec 16 Typhoons bombed a terrorist position North of Tabaqah as Tornados attacked a weapons cache and a Reaper destroyed a field gun.
Tornados and Typhoons attacked three Daesh targets near Mosul on 25 Dec 16 and on 27 Dec 16 Typhoons destroyed a machine-gun position while supporting Syrian Democratic Forces. (MoD, 28 Dec 16.)
Comment: Various aspects of OP SHADER have been considered in the House of Commons recently. ‘RAF Operations: Iraq and Syria’ were the subject of Oral Answers on 12 Dec 16. Aleppo/Syria: International
Action. was the subject of an Emergency Debate on 13 Dec 16. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 17/01, 02 Jan 17)
15 Dec 16. Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR): Army. In a Written Statement (15 Dec 16) the Defence Secretary gave details of how: “The Army is refining its force structure to deliver the capabilities set out in the Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015 and modernise
the Army’s ability to fight at the Divisional level.” The Defence Secretary repeated the intent “to sustain a
Regular Army of 82,000, a whole force of 112,000 Regular and Reserve troops and the Army’s footprint in the devolved nations”.
Comment: The Defence Secretary’s Statement included a summary of Army units divided between: ‘The first Strike Brigade,’ ‘Specialised Infantry Battalions,’ Administrative Structures,’ ‘Support’ and ‘Reserves.’ The
Written Statement is recorded in Hansard for 15 Dec 16. The „refinements. outlined by the Defence Secretary are aligned with the ‘Better Defence Estate’ strategy, published on 7 Nov 16, which sets out the decision to sell 91 sites owned or managed by the MoD. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 17/01, 02 Jan 17)
19 Dec 16. Yemen: Use of Cluster Munitions. In the House of Commons (19 Dec 16) the Defence Secretary said that: “The UK signed the convention on cluster munitions in 2008 and has not supplied any such weapons to Saudi Arabia since 1989.” However, the Defence Secretary went on to confirm that “a limited number of BL755 cluster munitions” had been exported from the UK in the 1980s and dropped in Yemen (more recently).
Comment: The above statement was made in response to allegations that UK-supplied cluster munitions were used in Yemen in January 2016. Cluster bombs contain hundreds of small explosive munitions (‘bomblets’), designed to detonate in midair and scattering the bomblets over a wide area. The Convention on Cluster Munitions came in to force on 1 Aug 10. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 17/01, 02 Jan 17)
19 Dec 16. Ukraine: Training Extended. The Defence Secretary announced (19 Dec 16) that the UK’s training programme for the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) is to be extended for a further year, until “early 2018”. The defensive training provided to the UAF includes: The identification of mines and other IED (Improvise