21 Sep 15. Iraq: OP SHADER. RAF aircraft have conducted numerous attacks on ISIL terrorists, as part of the coalition air campaign in support of Iraqi ground forces. Tornado GR4 and/or Reaper reconnaissance and strike aircraft flew daily missions over Northern and Western Iraq, from 8 Sep to 16 Sep 15 inclusive. The UK has supplied 1,000 Vallon mine detectors. (MoD, 21 Sep 15.)
ISIL terrorists have suffered further losses from RAF aircraft. Tornado GR4 and/or Reaper flew patrols on 19, 20, 21 & 24 Sep 15. Airseeker and Sentinel aircraft provided a significant part of the strategic surveillance support (an essential part of the Coalition’s assistance to the Iraqi Government). (MoD, 24 Sep 15.)
The Defence Secretary announced (26 Sep 15) that the UK is to extend its intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance commitment to Coalition Operations in Iraq and Syria. Currently there are around 800 personnel, including the Coalition Deputy Commander, supporting the Campaign.
Comment: RAF Tornados and Reaper equipped with Brimstone and Hellfire missiles and Paveway IV bombs have conducted 300 successful strikes and flown over 1,300 missions. RAF Reaper, Airseeker and Sentinel aircraft have contributed 30% of Coalition surveillance flights. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 15/38, 27 Sep 15)
19 Sep 15. HMS ENTERPRISE: Rescue Work. The Defence Secretary drew attention (19 Sep 15) to the life-saving assistance HMS ENTERPRISE has provided to EU rescue operations in the Mediterranean. Working as part of a wider EU mission to detect and disrupt people-smuggling gangs, HMS ENTERPRISE was tasked to rescue 377 migrants.
Comment: The wider mission (above) involved “a number” of European ships and the rescue of over 4,000 migrants, in at least 20 rescue operations. Despite the above (humanitarian) activity, the Defence Secretary repeated that the RN’s focus “remains on smashing the criminal smuggling gangs who are putting innocent lives at risk”. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 15/38, 27 Sep 15)
22 Sep 15. Mali: OP NEWCOMBE. The Army website noted (22 Sep 15) that 27 soldiers from 1st Bn The Royal Anglian Regiment have returned from Mali, where they represented the UK contribution to the EU military training mission. The team trained some 300 Malian soldiers in combat and counter-insurgency operations.
Comment: OP NEWCOMBE is an EU training mission to help maintain security in Mali and “build long-term stability in the wider region”. The British soldiers are only a small part of the EU effort in Mali, which consists of 500 personnel from 26 countries. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 15/38, 27 Sep 15)
21 Sep 15. Oman: Loan Service. The Armed Forces’ Minister said (21 Sep 15) that the MoD has 42 Army personnel permanently assigned to the Loan Service Team in Oman, conducting training for the Omani Armed Forces. The Army also deployed five Short Term Training Teams between 1 Apr 14 and 31 Mar 15. A total of 23 Army personnel deployed to Oman during this period, in order to conduct Short Term Training Team activities with the Omani Army.
Comment: An MoD Press Release of 5 Mar 15 stated: “Oman is a long standing British ally in the Gulf with shared interests across diplomatic, economic as well as Defence matters. Our Defence and security relationship is strong with high levels of interaction, including regular training between UK and Omani Armed Forces.” (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 15/38, 27 Sep 15)
22 Sep 15. Qatar: Staff College Demonstration. The MoD announced (22 Sep 15) that HMS DUNCAN hosted a day at sea for Officers attending Qatar’s Joint Command and Staff Course. The staff and students saw DUNCAN’s Lynx helicopter and sea boats simulating the hunting down of a suspected vessel, which was then searched by a Royal Marines Boarding Team. The Course had a student body of 30 from all branches of the Qatari Armed Forces as well as overseas students from Kuwait, Oman and Saudi Ara