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30 Sep 14. Iraq: OP SHADER. Two Tornado GR4 aircraft from RAF Akrotiri were tasked to assist Kurdish troops in North West Iraq on 30 Sep 14. A Paveway IV guided bomb was used to attack an ISIL position and a Brimstone missile engaged an ISIL armed pick-up truck. (MoD, 30 Sep 14.)
Tornado aircraft continued to provide air support to Kurdish Forces. Successful precision attacks were recorded with Paveway IV guided bombs. (MoD, 1/2 Oct 14.)
During a visit to RAF Akrotiri, the Prime Minister announced that an additional two Tornado GR4 were to be forward deployed [making a total of eight Tornado at Akrotiri]. (PM.s Office, 3 Oct 14.)
HMS DEFENDER is providing protection for the USS GEORGE H W BUSH and her aircraft as they launch air strikes against ISIL targets. (MoD, 3 Oct 14.)
Comment: The Prime Minister also announced (3 Oct 14) that it has been decided to maintain three Tornado Squadrons in service until March 2016. No 2 (Army Co-operation) Squadron had been due to ‘stand down’ in March 2015 but will now serve for another year. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 14/39, 06 Oct 14)
29 Sep 14. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK/OP CATALINA. The Foreign Secretary welcomed the new Afghan President (inaugurated on 29 Sep 14) and noted that the occasion marked the first democratic transfer of power in Afghanistan’s history. (FCO, 29 Sep 14.)
The Prime Minister visited Afghanistan where he held talks with the newly-elected President before flying to meet the British contingent in Helmand. The Prime Minister was visiting Camp Bastion “for perhaps the final time”. (PM.s Office, 3 Oct 14.)
Comment: The NATO Secretary-General welcomed (30 Sep 14) the signing of a Bilateral Security Agreement between the US and Afghanistan and of a Status of Forces Agreement between NATO and Afghanistan. The signing of the two Agreements means that the new NATO-led mission, called RESOLUTE SUPPORT, can start on 1 Jan 15. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 14/39, 06 Oct 14)
01 Oct 14. NATO: Change of Secretary-General. In succession to Mr A (Anders) Fogh Rasmussen, Mr J (Jens) Stoltenberg took up the post of NATO Secretary-General on 1 Oct 14. Mr Stoltenberg was elected as Secretary-General of NATO and Chairman of the North Atlantic Council on 28 Mar 14, having been Prime Minister of Norway in 2000/01 and from 2005 until 2013.
Comment: Mr Stoltenberg is said to be a strong supporter of enhanced transatlantic co-operation, including better burden-sharing across the Atlantic. During his initial Press Conference, Mr Stoltenberg said that he expected NATO Defence Ministers to agree on the design, composition and size of the Spearhead Force in February (2015). (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 14/39, 06 Oct 14)
01 Oct 14. Reserves: New Legislation. From 1 Oct 14, Reservists and their employees will be affected by legal changes announced within the Defence Reform Act 2014. 1 Oct 14 is the official date for the Territorial Army to be renamed the Army Reserve. Among other changes, the MoD can now call out Reservists for any purpose for which Regulars may be used. The maximum period for which Reservists may be mobilised has been increased from nine months to 12 months.
Comment: Current Reservists have a choice as to whether to transfer to the new terms whereas those joining on or after 1 Oct 14 are subject to the new terms. There are currently some 22,000 serving Reservists (of varying standards of usefulness) whereas Future Force 2020 requires 35,000 by 2018. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 14/39, 06 Oct 14)
01 Oct 14. Type 42 Destroyers: Final Disposal. The Disposal Services Authority invited (1 Oct 14) ‘expressions of interest’ for the Type 42 destroyers HMS GLO