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17 Apr 15. Sierra Leone: OP GRITROCK. Ebola Treatment Centres in Sierra Leone have been scaled down from 23 to 16, with approximately 500 beds currently available. Discussions continue on scaling down the number of beds further. (UN Mission, 17 Apr 15.)
The UN Secretary-General and the President of Sierra Leone discussed the need to reach zero cases (of Ebola) and then to focus on recovery. (UN, 17 Apr 15.)
The risk of EVD (Ebola Virus Disease) transmission occurring within the community in the UK is, and is expected to remain, very low. (Public Health England, 17 Apr 15.)
Comment: The UN Mission reported (17 Apr 15) that 25,831 confirmed, probable and suspected cases of EVD have been reported in the three most affected countries (Guinea, Liberia & Sierra Leone). 10,699 deaths have been reported. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 15/16, 20 Apr 15)
11 Apr 15. Iraq: OP SHADER. RAF Tornado aircraft have conducted further successful air strikes against the ISIL terrorist network. Two Tornado GR4 conducted an armed reconnaissance patrol over Mosul on 10 Apr 15 and destroyed an ISIL vehicle with a Paveway IV precision guided bomb. On 11 Apr 15 another GR4 mission conducted attacks on four targets with Paveway IVs. Further successful attacks were carried out in the early hours of 13 Apr 15.
Comment: British military personnel are said to be continuing to play a prominent role in the Coalition Headquarters and in the international training programme for the Iraqi and Kurdish troops. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 15/16, 20 Apr 15)
14 Apr 15. Exercise Incidents: Russian Interest. The MoD confirmed (14 Apr 15) that Typhoons were launched to intercept two Russian aircraft flying close to UK airspace. Earlier in the day the Udaloy Class destroyer SEVEROMORSK, an escorting tanker and a support ship were monitored by HMS ARGYLL as they passed through the English Channel.
A Russian submarine could have been responsible for almost capsizing a UK fishing trawler in the Irish Sea on 15 Apr 15. The crew of the trawler Karen said that their nets had been snagged and their boat dragged backwards at speed near to the Isle of Man. (If a British submarine had been involved with the trawler she would have been obliged to surface.)
Comment: It is not surprising that these ‘incidents’ occurred while the bi-annual EX JOINT WARRIOR is taking place off the East and West coasts of Scotland, from 11 to 24 Apr 15. Although Russia has official observers on the Exercise, it obviously merits additional attention. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 15/16, 20 Apr 15)
13 Apr 15. Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV): Radar Contract. Kelvin Hughes announced (13 Apr 15) that the Company has been contracted to supply SharpEye radars for the RN’s three new River Class OPV. The vessels (to be named FORTH, MEDWAY and TRENT) are to be used for counter-terrorism, counter-piracy and anti-smuggling operations. The radar system will be interfaced with the Combat Management System as well as other ‘third party’ systems.
Comment: HMS FORTH is due to start sea trials in late 2016, prior to delivery in April 2017. HMS MEDWAY should be delivered in October 2017 and HMS TRENT in July 2018. The future for the Batch 1 River Class OPV
(HMS TYNE, SEVERN and MERSEY) remains unclear, but is due to be announced in the forthcoming Strategic Defence and Security Review. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 15/16, 20 Apr 15)
17 Apr 15. General Election 2015: Approach to Defence. The Conservative Party Manifesto 2015 (pages 77/78):-
. Hold a National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review.
. Retain Trident ‘continuous at sea’ nuclear deterrent and build a new fle