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22 Nov 17. Autumn Budget 2017: Defence Aspects. In his Financial Statement (22 Nov 17), the Chancellor of the Exchequer made no reference to Defence or to the Armed Forces. Figures released in Autumn Budget 2017 remain the same as those given in Spring Budget 2017,
giving MoD Departmental Expenditure Limits (DEL), as follows:-
2017/18 2018/19 2019/20
Resource DEL 27,500 28,200 29,000
Capital DEL 8,500 8,700 9,000
Total DEL 36,000 36,900 38,000
Comment: ‘Autumn Budget 2017’ is published as HC 587 and the above figures are derived from Tables 1.7 and 1.8. Such mention of the Armed Forces as there was in the Budget included the modernisation of the Poppy
Factories in Richmond and Edinburgh and support for some categories of military veterans. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 17/43, 27 Nov 17)
20 Nov 17. France: Defence Co-operation. During a meeting (20 Nov 17) at Admiralty House, the Defence Secretary and the French Minister for the Armed Forces signed an agreement to increase co-operation on countering terrorism and illegal migration in the Channel. The agreement builds on existing co-operation between the French Navy and the Royal Navy, including joint exercises and intelligence-sharing.
Comment: The above meeting took place following a Guard of Honour at Horse Guards Parade provided by the Coldstream Guards. (The Guard Commander stated the Guard in fluent French.) (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 17/43, 27 Nov 17)
22 Nov 17. Oman: Strong Defence Relationship. In answer to a Parliamentary Question, a Foreign Office Minister replied (22 Nov 17) that the MoD is in the process of establishing a permanent British Army presence in Oman and that the MoD is also “heavily investing” in the port of Duqm, for use as a Joint Logistics Hub and by the Royal Navy. The Minister also drew attention to Ex Saif Sareea 3 which is to take place in Oman in 2018 and will be “the largest UK-Omani Exercise for 15 years”.
Comment: The drydock at the Duqm Port complex can accommodate submarines and the Queen Elizabeth Class carriers. The Joint Logistics Support Base is a joint venture between Babcock International and the Oman
Drydock Company. Further details of the Maritime Base in Oman were given in DNA 17/31 of 4 Sep 17. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 17/43, 27 Nov 17)
20 Nov 17. HMS OCEAN: No Reprieve. In a Written Answer (20 Nov 17), the Armed Forces Minister failed to confirm that there have been discussions with the International Development Minister about the continued in-service use of HMS OCEAN as a disaster relief vessel. Earlier (13 Nov 17) it was recorded that an expression of interest about the potential sale of HMS OCEAN has been received from Turkey. Discussions have also taken place with Brazil and Chile.
Comment: HMS OCEAN is due to be replaced as the flagship by HMS ALBION in Spring 2018. HMS ALBION is currently undergoing operational sea training off the coasts of Devon and Cornwall with some 500 Royal Marines embarked. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 17/43, 27 Nov 17)
23 Nov 17. Type 45 Destroyers: Long Range Radar (LRR). The Defence Procurement Minister announced (23 Nov 17) the award of an £18m contract with BAE Systems to support LRR equipment on the RN’s Type 45 destroyers. The contract is set to run for the next five years and will cover support for all six Type 45 destroyers as well as one shore-based facility in Portsmouth. The LRR provides the RN with a detailed air surveillance picture of the battlespace and is capable of automatically
detecting and tracking hundreds of targets simultaneously at ranges of greater than 200 miles. The system is also employed on the Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers.