16 Jan 17. Iraq and Syria: OP SHADER. The MoD has delivered over £4m of life-saving equipment and equipment to protect against chemical weapons
attacks to Syrian Opposition Forces. (Armed Forces. Minister, 16 Jan 17.)
On 12 Jan 17 Typhoons destroyed a building in Mosul used by Daesh for remotely piloted aerial vehicle operations as a Reaper engaged three groups of Daesh fighters elsewhere in the city. On the following day Tornados struck a tunnel West of Kirkuk as a Reaper engaged a target in Mosul. On 14 Jan 17 a Reaper destroyed two armed trucks South West of Tall Afar. (MoD, 17 Jan 17.)
On 16 Jan 17 Typhoons attacked three Daesh targets in and around Mosul as a Reaper supported Iraqi troops in the East of the city. During 17 Jan 17 Iraqi troops and a Reaper saved civilians from a car-bomb in Northern Mosul and Typhoons destroyed a Daesh tunnel in the city. On the following day Tornados destroyed a terrorist truck near Al Bab.
Comment: Various media outlets reported (16 Jan 17) that the Defence Secretary had claimed that two million people have been “freed from Daesh in 2016” with the help of British Armed Forces. According to the MoD
there are currently 1,350 British Service personnel deployed on OP SHADER. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 17/04, 23 Jan 17)
19 Jan 17. Montenegro: Joining NATO. A Foreign Office Minister confirmed (19 Jan 17) that the UK supported Montenegro’s aspiration to take its place as the 29th member of the NATO Alliance during the first half of 2017. In addition to political support, the UK has provided practical assistance throughout the accession process. The UK intends to sign a Memorandum of Understanding “shortly” that will underpin military co-operation between Montenegro and the UK.
Comment: NATO made a formal invitation to Montenegro to join the Alliance on 19 May 16. NATO Foreign Ministers have also expressed their support for the membership aspirations of Georgia, Macedonia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 17/04, 23 Jan 17)
16 Jan 17. Merlin Mk2 Helicopters: Crowsnest System. The Defence Procurement Minister announced (16 Jan 17) a £269m contract for the Crowsnest surveillance system, to be fitted to the Merlin Mk2 helicopters. Crowsnest forms part of the Carrier Enabled Power Projection
capability, delivering the two Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers. In the words of the Minister: “Crowsnest will provide a vital intelligence, surveillance and tracking system for our new Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers, capable of detecting any potential threats at sea.”
Comment: On 28 Jul 16, Lockheed Martin UK advised that the MoD had taken delivery of the 30th (and final) upgraded Merlin Mk2 from Industry. Since being in operation with the RN, the Merlin Mk2s have taken part in
the rescue of migrants in the Mediterranean and have deployed on Operations in Sierra Leone (helping in the fight against the outbreak of Ebola virus). (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 17/04, 23 Jan 17)
17 Jan 17. Astute Class Submarines: Build Times. The Defence Procurement Minister said (17 Jan 17) that the build time for HMS ASTUTE was 170 months; for HMS AMBUSH it was 149 months and for HMS ARTFUL it was 137 months. The Minister explained that the ‘build time’ was defined as the period from start of manufacture until handover to the RN.
Comment: Anticipated hand-over dates for the remainder of the Astute Class are: AUDACIOUS – Jan 18; ANSON – Aug 20; AGAMEMNON – May 22 and AJAX – Mar 24. (The seventh boat has yet to be officially recognised as AJAX, but the name is believed to be correct.) (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 17/04, 23 Jan 17)
18 Jan 17. Warrior Infantry Fighting Vehicles: Upgrading. The Defence Procurement Minister said (18 Jan 19) that the Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme was in its Demonstration Phase, with Lockheed Martin UK as the prime contractor. 12 Demonstration Vehicles are to undergo a “rigoro