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03 Feb 14. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. II (Army Co-operation) Squadron has taken over from 617 Squadron to provide Tornado GR4 air power as part of 83 Expeditionary Air Group support to Coalition Forces. (RAF, 3 Feb 14.)
Two pilots from 13 Squadron, operating Reaper over Afghanistan, explained how they supported ISAF Forces from a distance of 4,000 miles. (RAF, 3 Feb 14.)
It has been decided to bring some 2,000 Protected Mobility Vehicles into the ‘core programme.’ including: 71 Coyotes, 325 Huskies, 441 Jackals, 439 Mastiffs, 169 Ridgebacks and 60 Warthogs. (Written Answer (WA), 4 Feb 14.)
The repatriation of Captain R Holloway, Royal Engineers took place on 31 Dec 13. The repatriation was carried out in private at the request of the family. (WA, 4 Feb 14.)
Soldiers from 9th/12th Royal Lancers and 3rd Bn The Mercian Regiment supported an Afghan Uniform Police clearance operation at Yakchal. 400 kilos of hashish and a quantity of ammunition were seized.
(Media Ops, 4 Feb 14.)
Comment: General S M Karimi, Chief of Staff of the Afghan National Army, spent 5 Feb 14 at the RMA Sandhurst as part of a 48-hour visit to the UK. The General is a Sandhurst graduate and he met seven Afghan Officer Cadets currently in training. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 14/07, 10 Feb 14)
06 Feb 14. Somerset: Flood Relief. Some 40 members of 40 Commando, Royal Marines moved (6 Feb 14) to the village of Athelney to provide general assistance in the flooding. Activities included the filling and placing of sandbags on the Somerset Levels in an attempt to improve flood defences. The contingent moved (7 Feb 14) to Moorland, where two Pinzgauer vehicles were employed to help evacuate 140 properties.
Comment: According to the MoD (7 Feb 14): “The military are on high readiness, poised to receive further tasks as required.”. Meanwhile, the Prime Minister visited (7 Feb 14) military personnel involved in flood relief (against a background of dissatisfaction with political ineptitude). (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 14/07, 10 Feb 14)
03 Feb 14. Airborne Early Warning: Crowsnest Competition. The Defence Secretary announced (3 Feb 14) that the Crowsnest Airborne Surveillance and Control programme had been accelerated in order to ensure that it is operational by 2019. Crowsnest uses high power radar to provide long-range air, maritime and land tracking capabilities intended to be “an integral part of future carrier Operations”. Lockheed Martin UK has been awarded a £24m contract to run a competition to design, develop and demonstrate Crowsnest.
Comment: The competition is taking place between Thales UK and a subsidiary Mission Systems Supplier of Lockheed Martin UK and is due to be completed by 2016. The Fleet Air Arm’s airborne surveillance is currently provided by the Sea King, which is due to be taken out of service in 2016. Current planning assumptions call for the acquisition of 10 Crowsnest assemblies, although all 30 Merlin HM2 helicopters are expected to be modified to accept the new equipment. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 14/07, 10 Feb 14)
05 Feb 14. Taranis: Successful Flight Trials. During a Press briefing (5 Feb 14) BAE Systems announced that the maiden flight of the Taranis unmanned combat vehicle demonstrator took place on 10 Aug 13 and “surpassed all expectations”. The Defence Equipment Minister commented that Taranis is “the most advanced air system yet conceived, designed and built in the UK” and is “vitally important for the future of both UK air defence and the UK defence industry”. Taranis has been designed and built by BAE Systems (as prime contractor) with Rolls-Royce, the Systems
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