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07 Jul 14. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. Between 24 Mar 11 and 16 Jun 14 British fixed wing aircraft dropped 71 precision-guided munitions in Afghanistan. In the same period 317 similar munitions were dropped by remotely-piloted air systems. (Written
Answer (WA), 7 Jul 14.)
Two locally engaged civilians (LEC) have been granted visas to relocate to the UK and applications for another 269 are being processed. Further applications will be processed as the UK.s remaining LEC are made redundant. The first LEC are expected to arrive in the UK later this Summer. (WA, 7 Jul 14.)
There has not been any employment of armed UK aircraft outside the Afghanistan borders in support of International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) missions. (WA, 8 Jul 14.)
Comment: The MoD Press Office issued two lengthy rebuttals of newspaper articles. The first article was published in The Mail on Sunday (6 Jul 14) and the second in The Sun (8 Jul 14). The Mail article was dismissed as “simply untrue” whereas The Sun piece was said to demonstrate “a fundamental misunderstanding of where we are in the campaign”. Newspaper readers will draw their own conclusions! (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 14/28, 14 Jul 14)
09 Jul 14. NATO: 65th Anniversary. The Defence Secretary drew attention (9 Jul 14) to the 65th anniversary of the founding of NATO. It was a
British Foreign Secretary, Ernest Bevin, who was instrumental in setting up NATO and the UK hosted the first meeting of NATO Deputies in 1950.
Comment: The North Atlantic Treaty was signed in Washington DC on 4 Apr 49 and became effective on 24 Aug 49. It has been confirmed that the next NATO Summit is to be held at the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport on 4/5 Sep 14. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 14/28, 14 Jul 14)
10 Jul 14. Diplomatic Academy: Opening Soon. The Foreign Secretary announced (10 Jul 14) that a new Diplomatic Academy is to be established at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The Academy will be a central part of the Foreign Office with dedicated rooms within the King Charles Street headquarters and it is due to open early in 2015. The Academy’s 11 faculties include law, languages, economic diplomacy, consular work and multilateral policy as well as historical and geographic awareness.
Comment: The Diplomatic Academy complements the new language centre in the Foreign Office, which the Foreign Secretary opened on 19 Sep 13. The Foreign Secretary has also been the driving force behind the opening or upgrading of 18 new Embassies/Diplomatic posts. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 14/28, 14 Jul 14)
08 Jul 14. HMS ILLUSTRIOUS: Leaving Soon. The Armed Forces. Minister confirmed (8 Jul 14) that HMS ILLUSTRIOUS will retire from service in 2014. The Defence Equipment Minister had said earlier (17 Jun 14) that no final decision has been made on the specific date for the retirement.
Comment: HMS OCEAN is to take over as the Fleet’s landing platform helicopter but her refit has taken longer than anticipated (hence the inability of Ministers to name a specific date for ILLUSTRIOUS’ retirement). OCEAN should have started sea trials in the Spring, followed by operational sea training, but she didn’t sail from
Plymouth for the trials until 5 Jul 14. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 14/28, 14 Jul 14)
07 Jul 14. Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV): Construction to Start. The Defence Equipment Minister confirmed (7 Jul 14) that the MoD intends to award a build contract for three OPV to enable construction to start in “Autumn 2014”.
Comment: On 12 Mar 14 the Minister announced an initial £20m contract for BAE Systems to buy parts for the new OPV. The vessels are set to be built by BAE Systems at their Clyd