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17 Nov 17. Iraq and Syria: OP SHADER. Official estimates are that Daesh has lost 90% of the territory is once controlled in Iraq and Syria and that over six million people have been freed from Daesh. (MoD Daily Report, 13 Nov 17.)
On 9 Nov 17 Tornados destroyed a Daesh vehicle and stockpiled supplies in Western Iraq. Typhoons bombed three explosive devices alongside roads in Northern Iraq on 11 Nov 17. On the following day a Reaper destroyed a truck-bomb in Eastern Syria. (MoD, 14 Nov 17.)
Comment: The MoD reported that RAF aircraft had continued to fly “extensive armed reconnaissance patrols across Iraq and Syria” in support of Iraqi and Syrian Forces. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 17/42, 20 Nov 17)
13 Nov 17. EU Defence: Permanent Structured Co-operation. The EU Foreign Affairs Council (Defence) met on 13 Nov 17. In the margins of the Council meeting Ministers from 23 member states signed a joint notification on the Permanent Structured Co-operation (PESCO). This permanent framework for Defence co-operation is aimed at the joint development of Defence capabilities, investment in shared projects and enhancement of the operational effectiveness of armed forces.
Comment: Member states who have not signed the notification are: Denmark, Ireland, Malta, Portugal and the UK. It is anticipated that the European Council will adopt a decision establishing PESCO at the next Foreign Affairs Council on 11 Dec 17. Attending the Foreign Affairs Council meeting (13 Nov 17) the Defence Minister Lord Howe reaffirmed the UK’s
commitment to European security stating that: “We are leaving the European Union but not Europe, and regional security remains top of our agenda….” (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 17/42, 20 Nov 17)
16 Nov 17. HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH: To Be Commissioned. The Defence Secretary announced (16 Nov 17) that HM The Queen is to formally commission HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH into the Royal Navy on 7 Dec 17.
Comment: The carrier is reportedly making “great progress” through her sea trials prior to returning to her home port of Portsmouth. The MoD anticipates that HM The Queen will be joined by “a host of dignitaries” for the commissioning ceremony. This will be the first visit by HM the Queen to the UK’s new flagship since the carrier was formally named in Scotland in July 2014. The QE Class carriers are set to have a service life of 50 years. As the MoD has pointed out, her last Captain is
unlikely to have been born and there will be crew members whose parents are not yet born. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 17/42, 20 Nov 17)
16 Nov 17. New Tanker: First of Class Arrives. The RN reported (16 Nov 17) that RFA Tidespring has sailed into Portsmouth, ahead of her dedication ceremony on 27 Nov 17. Tidespring is the first of four Tide Class support ships, all of which can carry 19,000 cubic metres of fuel and 1,400 cubic metres of fresh water in support of RN operations.
Comment: Second of Class is RFA Tiderace, to be followed by RFA Tidesurge and RFA Tideforce. All four Tide Class tankers are expected to enter service by the end of 2018. The Tide Class tankers are replacing the RFA’s single-hulled tankers. Larger than their predecessors and double-
hulled, they are an advanced capability specifically designed to provide fuel and water in support of the new aircraft carriers. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 17/42, 20 Nov 17)
02 Nov 17. F-35B Lightning II: Numbers confirmed. The Defence Procurement Minister confirmed (2 Nov 17) that the UK is intending to procure 138 F-35 aircraft over the life of the programme. The Minister went on to say (3 Nov 17) that the UK F-35 programme is “on track” to reach initial operating capability by the end of 2018. The Minister added (13 Nov 17) that nine F-35B aircraft are planned to be