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20 Oct 17. Iraq and Syria: OP SHADER. The MoD reported (23 Oct 17) that UK Forces deployed at Al-Asad Air Base are to train further forward and to provide increased force protection for UK personnel in and around coalition bases, as Daesh continues its retreat across Iraq and Syria.
Defence Oral Questions (23 Oct 17) recorded the deployment of 270 members of 2 RIFLES; taking over from US Forces. Patrolling outside the Al-Asad Air Base was also noted, as was the future deployment of medical
personnel and the continued deployment of Royal Engineers.
The Foreign Secretary said (24 Oct 17) that the UK was “deeply disappointed” that the mandate for the UN Joint Investigative Mechanism on chemical weapons in Syria has not been renewed. The Foreign Secretary issued (26 Oct 17) a statement on the release of a UN report on chemical weapons use in Syria.
Comment: The Defence Secretary said (23 Oct 17) that over 600 British soldiers were on the ground in Iraq, helping to train that country’s Forces. The UK’s commitment from all three Services to the fight against Daesh across the region now numbers just over 1,400 military personnel. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 17/39, 30 Oct 17)
26 Oct 17. Operation Commander: OP ATALANTA. Major General C Stickland RM has been appointed (26 Oct 17) the new Operation Commander of OP ATALANTA. Major General Stickland succeeds Major General R Magowan RM and is due to take up his duties on 7 Nov 17.
Comment: OP ATALANTA, the EU’s counter-piracy operation, was launched in 2008 and has been extended by the European Council until December 2018. The Operation contributes to the deterrence, prevention and repression of acts of piracy and armed robbery off the coast of Somalia. The UK contributes the two-star Commander for OP ATALANTA (in rotation) as well as Operation HQ staff and facilities at Northwood. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 17/39, 30 Oct 17)
26 Oct 17. Landing Platforms Dock (LPD): Not for Sale. Following speculation in the national Press (26 Oct 17), an MoD spokesman said: “We can categorically confirm that there has been no engagement with either Chile or Brazil in respect of the early sale of Type 23 frigates or the two LPD.”
Comment: On present announced planning, the Type 23 frigates are due to be decommissioned at the rate of one each year; starting with HMS ARGYLL in 2023. A Ministerial Answer on 16 Oct 17 gave the ‘out of service’
dates of HMS ALBION as 2033 and HMS BULWARK as 2034. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 17/39, 30 Oct 17)
27 Oct 17. HMS SEVERN: Decommissioned. 14 years of service by HMS SEVERN was honoured (27 Oct 17) at a ceremony in HM Naval Base, Portsmouth.
The ship’s company and their guests gathered at South Railway Jetty for a final inspection and service of thanksgiving for her crew and the safe completion of her commission. The majority of HMS SEVERN’s 45 personnel are expected to remain within the Fishery Protection Squadron.
Comment: HMS SEVERN is one of three Offshore Patrol Vessels operating in European waters which are being replaced by a new generation of River Class vessels. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 17/39, 30 Oct 17)
24 Oct 17. Helicopter Simulation Centre: Training Equipment. The MoD announced (24 Oct 17) an investment of over £90m in a helicopter simulation centre to help train the RN and RAF helicopter pilots of the future. The contract sustains 70 jobs at the Medium Support Helicopter Aircrew Training Facility based at RAF Benson. The contract covers training for Chinook and Puma aircrews (until the Puma out-of-service date which is currently planned as 2025). Training for the Merlin Mk3 will continue at the
facility for at least two more years.
Comment: The Training Facility is equipped with six CAE-built dynamic missio