20 Mar 17. Iraq and Syria: OP SHADER. The Commanding Officer of 2nd Bn The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment was quoted as saying that Iraqi and Kurdish fighters being trained by UK forces will ‘absolutely’ beat Daesh. The report added that over 500 British soldiers are currently deployed across Iraq. (MoD, 20 Mar 17.)
On 13 Mar 17 Typhoons struck a supply route North West of Mosul and six strong points within the city. Two days later Tornados attacked three terrorist positions in Western Mosul. On 17 Mar 17 Tornados destroyed five Daesh targets while supporting Iraqi troops. On the following day Tornados destroyed a terrorist headquarters near Raqqa. On 19 Mar 17 Typhoons and Tornados attacked 11 terrorist positions inside Western Mosul and on the next day both types of aircraft engaged three targets in Mosul. (MoD, 21 Mar 17.)
HM Government expects all suspected Daesh fighters “to be processed by the Iraqi authorities in accordance with Iraqi law”. (Written Answers, 21 Mar 17.)
Comment: “Although the immediate primary operational focus remains on supporting the liberation of Western Mosul, operations against Daesh in Syria have not been neglected, with RAF aircraft conducting intensive
armed reconnaissance missions there.” (MoD, 21 Mar 17.) (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 17/13, 27 Mar 17)
24 Mar 17. Zambia: Supporting the Training. The Foreign Office noted (24 Mar 17) that the British High Commissioner had spoken at the graduation
ceremony of Zambian Defence personnel in Lusaka. The High Commissioner expressed his pleasure that British Army trainers could again assist with the Zambian Defence Force’s pre-deployment training. The training of ZAMBATT 3 was a joint effort between Zambian, US and UK trainers. The training package involved specialist courses ranging from advanced medical training to establishing the female engagement teams. From individuals, the training progressed to Companies and then to the 750-strong battlegroup.
Comment: ZAMBATT 3 is a deployment to the Central African Republic, with “subunits spread over great distances in a confusing and contested environment”. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 17/13, 27 Mar 17)
23 Mar 17. Japan: Procurement Co-operation. The Defence Procurement Minister said (23 Mar 17) that there are currently no missile-related programmes in place with Japan, beyond the feasibility assessment of a joint new air-to-air missile programme. The programme is the potential development of a new variant of the Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM), developed by MBDA, which incorporates some Japanese technology.
Comment: The Minister also said that there are growing levels of co-operation between Japan and the UK, consistent with the Defence Equipment Co-operation Framework Treaty signed by the two nations in 2013. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 17/13, 27 Mar 17)
24 Mar 17. RAF Lossiemouth: Preparing for P-8 Poseidon. RAF News (24 Mar 17) reports that RAF Lossiemouth is to undergo a £400m construction programme ahead of the delivery of the P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft in 2020. Work will include upgrading runways and taxi ways as well as providing additional buildings to house the fleet of nine aircraft. The investment programme will also provide new facilities for an additional Lossiemouth Typhoon Squadron.
Comment: As reported in DNA 17/09, the first of nine P-8 Poseidon aircraft was due to be delivered in 2019. However, initial delivery is now variously reported/recorded as being within the 2019/20 timeframe.
(Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 17/13, 27 Mar 17)
20 Mar 17. Portsmouth: Jetty Named. HRH The Princess Royal unveiled a plaque at Portsmouth Naval Base (20 Mar 17) officially naming the berth
as The Princess Royal Jetty. The Jetty will be ‘home’ to the RN’s two new 65,000-tonne Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers. Formerly known as Middle Ship Jetty, the berth has been upgraded and strengthen