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26 Apr 14. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. The MoD confirmed that five UK Service personnel were killed in a Lynx helicopter accident on 26 Apr 14. A
Captain, a Warrant Officer and a Corporal were members of the Army Air Corps. The fourth was an RAF Flight Lieutenant and the fifth was an Intelligence Corps Reservist Lance Corporal. (MoD 26 Apr/1 May 14.)
The Foreign Secretary updated Parliament with the 36th Progress Report on developments in Afghanistan since November 2010. (Written Statement, 29 Apr 14.)
All armoured fighting vehicles are to be returned to the UK from Afghanistan. (Written Answer, 29 Apr 14.) The seventh and last Tongan contingent completed its mission and the 55 members of the Tongan Forces conducted a farewell parade. (Media Ops, 30 Apr 14.)
Comment: The Army website drew attention (29 Apr 14) to the award of the PDSA Dickin Medal to Army dog Sasha. During her time in Afghanistan, Sasha made 15 confirmed operational finds and saved many lives. Sadly both Sasha and her handler, L/Cpl K Rowe, were killed in July 2008. The Dickin Medal is known as the animals? Victoria Cross. (PDSA = People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals.) (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 14/18, 05 May 14)
28 Apr 14. Ukraine: Assistance to OSCE Mission. In a Statement to the House of Commons (28 Apr 14), the Foreign Secretary noted that the UK is providing £1m to support the deployment of up to 400 additional observers to strengthen the OSCE mission in Ukraine. The Foreign Secretary went on to remind the House that the UK has contributed four Typhoon aircraft to boost NATO’s regular air policing mission (see also Item 3) as well as AWACS reconnaissance flights over Poland and Romania. The UK “stands ready” to provide more support as NATO may require.
The FCO issued further travel advice for Ukraine on 3 May 14, repeating earlier guidance and now advising against all travel to Kostyantinivka, Krematorsk and Horlivka in the Donetsk Region.
Comment: In a speech (3 May 14), the Foreign Secretary called for “de-escalation” of tension in Eastern Ukraine ahead of his forthcoming visit. The Foreign Secretary also welcomed the release of the illegally detained OSCE inspectors in Eastern Ukraine. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 14/18, 05 May 14)
28 Apr 14. Bahrain: New Naval Headquarters. The RN reported (28 Apr 14) that the Armed Forces’ Minister ‘broke ground’ at the site of the new UK Maritime Component Command (UKMCC) complex in Bahrain. A new £6m Headquarters will act as the centre of RN activity in the Middle East. The Headquarters is one of two buildings being erected at Mina Salman Naval Base; the second being a Forward Support Unit for all RN vessels.
Comment: There are four minehunters (two Hunt Class and two Sandown Class) permanently based in Bahrain, plus one RFA „mother ship?. In addition, there are usually two destroyers or frigates in the Gulf and Indian Ocean performing a mix of maritime security duties. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 14/18, 05 May 14)
30 Apr 14. Missing Aircraft: HMS ECHO Withdrawn. The MoD advised (30 Apr 14) that HMS ECHO has joined HMS TIRELESS in standing down from the search for the signal from the ‘black box’ of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370. The move comes after the Australian Prime Minister announced that the search for the missing aircraft has moved into a new phase.
Comment: The Australian authorities assessed that there is no prospect of further acoustic detections associated with the aircraft’s ‘black box’ and therefore the two RN vessels have been stood down. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 14/18, 05 May 14)
29 Apr 14. Yemen: International Support. The Friends of Yemen met in Londo