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11 Mar 14. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft flown by pilots from XIII Squadron and 39 Squadron, under command of 83 Expeditionary Air Group, continue to play a vital role in providing intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance to UK and ISAF Forces. (83 EAG Ops Update, 11 Mar 14.)
Reaper passed a new milestone, when 39 Squadron recorded 50,000 hours of flying in support of
OP HERRICK. 39 Squadron (together with XIII Squadron) uses Reaper ground control stations at RAF Waddington and at Creech Air Force Base, Nevada. (RAF, 13 Mar 14.)
RAF intelligence analysts who interpret data from Sentinel R1 surveillance aircraft packed up their ground station and returned to the UK. The move was made possible by developments in the aircraft’s satellite communications. (RAF, 13 Mar 14.)
Comment: A Written Answer (11 Mar 14) indicated that the team from the Department for International Development (DfID) responsible for Afghanistan consisted of seven full-time staff based in London. Staff numbers in Afghanistan could not be provided “for security and Operational reasons”. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 14/12, 17 Mar 14)
08 Mar 14. Ukraine: Further Developments. The Prime Minister discussed the situation in Ukraine with the US President and the Canadian Prime Minister. (Prime Minister’s Office, 8 Mar 14.)
The Prime Minister telephoned the Russian President (9 Mar 14) to discuss the situation in Ukraine. The two leaders agreed to “stay in touch” on the issue.
The Prime Minister and the German Chancellor had a working dinner (9 Mar 14) after opening a trade fair in Hanover. Their discussions focussed on the situation in Ukraine.
The Prime Minister gave a Statement to the House of Commons (10 Mar 14) about the previous week’s emergency European Council on Ukraine.
NATO indicated (10 Mar 14) that reconnaissance flights over Poland and Romania were to start, in order to monitor the situation in Ukraine. The involvement of a UK E-3D Sentry aircraft from RAF Waddington was confirmed. (BBC News, 11 Mar 14).
The G7 leaders (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US together with the Presidents of the European Council and the European Commission) called on “the Russian Federation to cease all efforts to change the status of Crimea”. (Prime Minister’s Office, 12 Mar 14.)
The House of Lords debated ‘Crimea’. (Hansard, 13 Mar 14, Column 1862.)
The Foreign Secretary hosted his opposite numbers from Russia and the US in London (14 Mar 14). At the conclusion of the Russian-US talks, the Foreign Secretary said that the talks had not produced a diplomatic breakthrough. European Union Foreign Ministers are to meet on Monday (17 Mar 14) in Brussels to discuss the way ahead.
Concerns over Ukraine were discussed at a meeting of all 50 members of the Partnership for Peace in the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council. (NATO, 14 Mar 14.)
An E-3D Sentry aircraft from 8 Squadron RAF departed from the UK (14 Mar 14) to start reconnaissance flights as part of the UK’s contribution to the NATO Airborne Early Warning and Control Force. (RAF, 14 Mar 14.)
Comment: A NATO spokesman confirmed (14 Mar 14) that all AWACS (Airborne Early Warning and Control Systems) reconnaissance flights are to take place solely over Alliance territory. NATO AWACS will fly their missions from their home bases in Geilenkirchen and Waddington. 8 Squadron has six E-3D Sentry aircraft. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 14/12, 17 Mar 14)
10 Mar 14. Australia-UK Ministerial (AUKMIN): Annual Meeting. The Foreign and Defence Secretaries met their Australian opposite numbers in London (during the week starting 10 Mar 14), for the annual AUKMIN