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28 May 14. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. The responsibility for Tornado GR4 support to Operations in Afghanistan has been passed from II Squadron to
IX Squadron. Ground Alert Close Air Support (GACS) is a 24-hour duty shared with the Belgian Air Force F-16 detachment. (RAF, 28 May 14)
Comment: The Prime Minister spoke to the US President by telephone (26 May 14). The two leaders mainly discussed Afghanistan, following the President’s visit and in the context of the end of ISAF combat Operations at the end of 2014. Discussions were said to have included the prospects of the US signing a Bilateral Security Agreement with the next Afghan President. (Run off ballots in the Presidential election are to be cast on 14 Jun 14, with final results announced on 22 Jul 14 and the new President inaugurated 30 days later.) (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 14/22, 02 Jun 14)
29 May 14. Global Hawk: Airborne Surveillance. The MoD reported (29 May 14) that a US Air Force Global Hawk remotely-piloted aircraft has flown in UK airspace for the first time. The aircraft flew from an Air Base in the Mediterranean and across several European countries, including the UK, as part of a NATO trial known as Unified Vision 2014. The aim of the flight was to assist in the development of the NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) system, which is expected to become operational with five Global Hawks.
Comment: The AGS system is expected to be acquired by 14 NATO allies, but not by the UK. The UK’s contribution to airborne surveillance is covered by the Sentinel aircraft which the Chief of the Air Staff is keen to retain in service. A final decision is expected with the next Strategic Defence and Security Review. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 14/22, 02 Jun 14)
28 May 14. UN Peacekeepers: International Day. In New York (29 May 14) the UN Secretary-General laid a wreath in memory of all peacekeepers who have been killed. The Dag Hammarskjold Medal was awarded posthumously to the 106 military, police and civilian personnel who lost their lives while serving on peacekeeping Operations in 2013.
Comment: The Foreign Office in London also marked the International Day of Peacekeepers, noting that 95,000 UN personnel from 122 countries are currently serving in 16 peacekeeping missions worldwide. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 14/22, 02 Jun 14)
27 May 14. Ration Packs: Hot Sauce. The MoD announced (27 May 14) the award of a £28,000 contract to the makers of Hot Diggidy Dog pepper sauce, for the supply of 75,000 bottles to be included in military 24-hour ration packs. The 5ml vial of Hot Diggidy Dog sauce is the first addition to military ration packs since 2010.
Comment: The founder and Managing Director of Hot Diggidy Dog is a former submariner who saw his business double as a result of the above contract. The 1.6m 24-hour ration packs issued by the MoD every year are designed to give deployed military personnel the 4,000 calories they need daily. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 14/22, 02 Jun 14)
28 May 14. HMS BULWARK: Visiting London. HMS BULWARK, the RN flagship, sailed into Greenwich on 28 May 14 in support of activities for the 350th anniversary of the Royal Marines. HMS BULWARK will remain in London until 3 Jun 14 when she will travel to Southsea to take part in an amphibious beach assault. The flagship will then cross the Channel to join international ceremonies “being held to mark the enduring spirit of the Allied Forces at D-Day”. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 14/22, 02 Jun 14)
30 May 14. The chief executive of Siemens said in a note to German staff on Friday that reports the company was planning to cut 11,600 staff were based on an i