NEWS IN BRIEF – EUROPE
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01 May 15. Nepal: Earthquake Assistance. The MoD confirmed (1 May 15) that an earthquake of 7.8 magnitude struck an area between Kathmandu and Pokhara on 25 Apr 15. The Government of Nepal requested international assistance and the UK Government is responding.
An RAF C-17 aircraft arrived in Nepal on 30 Apr 15, carrying 18 Gurkha Engineers and 18 tonnes of supplies including over 1,100 shelter kits. The Engineers are assessing engineering need and are operating water purification equipment.
The MoD reported (1 May 15) that an RAF Chinook helicopter bound for Kathmandu had left the UK to assist with the DfID disaster relief effort. The Chinook was transported from RAF Odiham to RAF Brize Norton before being loaded onto an Antonov aircraft. The MoD also confirmed (1 May 15) that two additional RAF Chinook and other (civilian) helicopters would be made available. On 2 May 15, departure of a second RAF Chinook from Brize Norton was confirmed as well as the arrival of a further C-17 aid flight in Nepal.
Comment: DfID has confirmed that it continues to support Nepal?s recovery efforts and stands ready to provide whatever further assistance is required. The MoD is said to be assessing what military resources can be offered to support the humanitarian effort in the region. Gurkhas in Nepal have already provided informal assistance to some 200 people through first aid and logistical support. The Gurkhas are able to provide language assistance to search and rescue teams as they speak both English and Nepali. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 15/18, 04 May 15)
22 Apr 15. Iraq: OP SHADER. Reaper provided support to fast jet attacks. 23 Apr 15: Reaper attacked terrorist team with Hellfire. ? 24/25 Apr 15: Tornado GR4 provided close air support to an Iraqi unit. ? 27 Apr 15: RAF aircraft struck seven targets. ? 27 Apr 15: Tornado destroyed a terrorist position with a Paveway. ? 28 Apr 15: Reaper flew overwatch for Iraqi troops.
Comment: Sentry command and control aircraft, Sentinel surveillance aircraft and Voyager air-to-air refuelling tankers were also said to be “making a major contribution to the Coalition air campaign”. The above details are derived from MoD News Releases of 28 Apr & 1 May 15.
(Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 15/18, 04 May 15)
30 Apr 15. Baltic: Air Policing. NATO advised (30 Apr 15) that Norway assumed lead responsibility for air policing over the Baltic States on 1 May 15. The UK rejoined the mission while Italy and Belgium continued their participation. Allies take up the air patrols in a four-month rotation: until 31 Aug 15 Norway will lead the mission from Lithuania with four F-16s; Italy has deployed four Eurofighters to Lithuania; Belgium?s four F-16s are based in Poland and the UK’s four Eurofighters are based in Estonia.
Comment: A handover ceremony took place on 30 Apr 15 at Šiauliai airbase in Lithuania, where Italy formally transferred lead responsibility for the mission to Norway. NATO has been protecting the Baltic skies since 2004. In 2014, NATO scrambled its ‘planes over 150 times in response to Russian air activity over the Baltics’ (four times the amount of scrambles in 2013). (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 15/18, 04 May 15)
28 Apr 15. HMS SOMERSET: Seizure of Illegal Drug. The Royal Navy advised (28 Apr 15) that HMS SOMERSET and Border Force cutter Valient intercepted the ocean-going tug MV Hamal about 100 miles East of Aberdeenshire on 23 Apr 15. The vessel was boarded and accompanied into Aberdeen where a search was carried out by specialist Border Force Officers, with operational support from Police Scotland. The nine man crew of the Hamal was detained for questioning a