07 Oct 15. Iraq: OP SHADER. RAF Reaper remotely piloted aircraft continued to conduct effective air strikes against terrorist targets on 1, 2, 4 & 5 Oct 15. Tornado GR4 from RAF Akrotiri provided close air support on 2 & 4 Oct 15. On the ground, British instructors have been teaching techniques to minimise the threat posed by improvised explosive devices and booby-traps. (MoD, 7 Oct 15.)
Comment: In summary, the MoD concludes that British Forces have continued to conduct air Operations to assist the Iraqi Government in its fight against ISIL. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 15/40, 12 Oct 15)
08 Oct 15. Baltics: Increased Support. Speaking at the NATO Defence Ministerial (8 Oct 15), the Defence Secretary announced that Company-sized units are now to be deployed to the Baltics and Poland on a regular basis “to provide reassurance and training support”. The move, forming part of the US-German Transatlantic Capability Enhancement and Training (TACET) initiative, builds on the UK’s contribution to policing Baltic air space.
Comment: 6 Squadron returned to RAF Lossiemouth in August 2015, after a four month detachment to Amari Airbase in Estonia. RAF Typhoons are due to return to the Baltics in 2016. One of the aims of TACET is to co-ordinate military training and Exercises in the Baltic States and Poland, “to provide reassurance and develop capability and resilience.” (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 15/40, 12 Oct 15)
08 Oct 15. Ukraine: Training Support. During his speech at the NATO Defence Ministerial (8 Oct 15) the Defence Secretary announced an increase in the number of training personnel to be seconded to Ukraine. The UK has already increased the training programme in Ukraine to include additional Infantry, medical and survival skills and it is now intended to increase the number of Ukrainian soldiers being trained.
Comment: 19 UK teams have operated in Ukraine to train nearly 1,600 members of the Ukraine Armed Forces at eight training sites. It is intended that over 2,000 Ukrainian troops will have received additional training by the end of the financial year. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 15/40, 12 Oct 15)
09 Oct 15. Bahamas: RFA Lyme Bay Relief Efforts. The Prime Minister praised (9 Oct 15) the crew of RFA Lyme Bay for its work in providing aid to storm affected islands across the Americas. The Prime Minister has written to the ship’s crew who have been restoring vital services in the Bahamas after some of the island chain was devastated by Hurricane Joaquin.
Comment: The Prime Minister met the 176 crew-members of RFA Lyme Bay when he visited the ship during a visit to Jamaica at the end of September 2015. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 15/40, 12 Oct 15)
04 Oct 15. Remotely Piloted Air Systems (RPAS): Introducing Protector.
The Prime Minister announced (4 Oct 15) that the RAF is to replace the existing fleet of 10 Reaper RPAS “with more than 20 of the latest generation of RPAS, which will be called Protector and will carry the very latest technology”.
Comment: Little is known about Protector RPAS other than they have greater range and endurance than Reaper. The new RPAS “will substantially enhance the UK’s global Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance capability” (it is claimed). (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 15/40, 12 Oct 15)
04 Oct 15. Special Forces: New Equipment. Announcing investment in counter-terrorism capabilities for the Armed Forces (4 Oct 15), the Prime Minister forecast “an upgrade” of Special Forces’ equipment. New specialist weapons and clothing are to ensure that Special Forces “remain at the cutting edge of technology, giving them a clear advantage over enemies.”
Comment: For obvious reasons, no additional detail about future Special Forces’ equipment has been released. Provision for the investment has (apparently) been made in the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review: this remains to be seen. (Source: DNA DEFENC